Sheku Bayoh: Trial of ‘injured’ police officer postponed

PC Nicole Short was said to be badly injured during the arrest of Sheku Bayoh. Picture: PA
PC Nicole Short was said to be badly injured during the arrest of Sheku Bayoh. Picture: PA
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THE trial of a police officer said to have been badly hurt and who “feared for her life” in the incident that led to the death of Sheku Bayoh has been postponed again, it emerged today.

Nicole Short was due to appear for trial at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court later this month accused of illegally accessing information on the police computer system.

PC Short was involved in the struggle that led to the death of father-of-two Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy’s Hayfield Road on May 3.

Police Federation bosses say she suffered “significant” injuries during the incident that led to the 31-year-old’s death.

A pre-trial hearing was set down for tomorrow.

But today it emerged the case had been “accelerated” and heard last month instead, without press in attendance.

The trial - which was originally to be heard at the start of this year - will now be heard next February.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court earlier heard that Short’s “complicated medical state” meant she wasn’t fit to stand trial at an earlier date.

At an earlier hearing, Ross Cameron of PBW Law, defending, told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court only that PC Short had been involved in an “incident in Kirkcaldy” that had led to a “complicated medical state”.

He said: “She maintains her plea of not guilty and her attendance is excused.

“Quite simply, she is currently not fit for trial due to a complicated medical state following on from an incident in Kirkcaldy.

“She is seeking assistance from various medical professionals.

“She is due to meet a clinical psychologist next week for him to complete a report.

“That is to be discussed with the Crown for future consideration.”

Short, 29, of Glenrothes, Fife, pleaded not guilty on summary complaint to three charges under the Data Protection Act.

She is accused of accessing confidential information on the Police Scotland computer system in October 2012.

PC Nicole Short is accused of obtaining personal data relating to two men from Fife Constabulary’s Crimefile system and the Scottish Intelligence Database for non-policing purposes in a separate incident.

PC Short will now stand trial in February, with a pre-trial hearing set two weeks before the trial date.

In a statement released after Sheku Bayoh’s death, Professor Peter Watson, the Police Federation’s legal advisor said: “The officer injured remains off work, has had several hospital visits and is now in rehabilitation.

“An examination by a leading consultant confirms her injuries were significant. The injuries have been documented and photographed.”

Mr Bayoh, 31, collapsed and died after being restrained by several officers who were following up reports of a suspect wielding a knife.

The father-of-two’s family - who say they received differing stories on how he died following the incident - and his partner Colette have been campaigning for answers.

The case is currently being investigated by police watchdog, the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC), however calls have been made for a review of its powers in light of Mr Bayoh’s case.