Sheku Bayoh death inquiry to investigate whether race was a factor

A public inquiry into the death of Skeku Bayoh in police custody will seek to establish whether race played a role in events.

Sheku Bayoh died in police custody

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf set out the terms of reference for the inquiry today after the death of 32-year-old Mr Bayoh in 2015. His family have claimed that his race was a factor.

Mr Bayoh, who was originally from Sierra Leone but had lived in Scotland since he was 17, was restrained by six officers in Kirkcaldy and lost consciousness. He died at hospital and was found to have suffered 23 injuries.

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The inquiry will examine the circumstances leading up to the death of Mr Bayoh, the post incident management process and subsequent investigation into his death.

The inquiry will also establish the extent to which Mr Bayoh’s actual or perceived race played a part in events, if any.

Mr Yousaf said today: “I met with key parties, including the family of Mr Bayoh, to discuss the approach to the terms of reference.

"While they do not feature all of the issues raised with me during my discussion, the terms of reference do focus on the incident and are sufficiently broad enough to allow the chair to look at wider issues he may consider relevant to the inquiry.”

Mr Bayoh had taken the drugs MDMA and another drug known as Flakka before his death and his behaviour has been described as having turned aggressive.

The inquiry is to be headed up by former High Court judge Lord Bracadale.

He said: “I welcome the announcement of the terms of reference of the public inquiry. I believe that they will enable my inquiry to conduct a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Bayoh and the wider issues arising. I understand the impact which the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably had on preparation for the inquiry and look forward to being able to make progress in due course.”

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