Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has announced the remit of the independent public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh.
The statutory public inquiry, under retired judge Lord Bracadale, will examine the circumstances leading up to the death of Mr Bayoh in May 2015 while in police custody in Fife, the post-incident management process and the 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.
In addition, the inquiry will make recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances, as would have been required in a fatal accident inquiry. However the scope of the inquiry will allow it to assess and establish aspects of the case that could not be captured, or fully captured through the FAI process.
Mr Yousaf said: “When I announced in November that a public inquiry was to be held, I said then that it is imperative that the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh’s death and the events that followed are examined in full and in public. I am pleased that today brings us a further step closer to that.
“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.”
Lord Bracadale added: “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.”
The pandemic, with its lockdown restrictions, has had an impact on the ability to take forward aspects of work for the public inquiry, incliding identifying suitable premises. Mr Yousaf will provide further updates in due course, including the appointment of assessors and confirmation of the setting up date.