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by Jenni Davidson
01 December 2020
Public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh begins

Justice for Sheku Bayoh - Image credit: PA

Public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh begins

The public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh has begun.

Lord Bracadale, who is leading the inquiry, said preliminary discussions with some of the organisations involved led them to believe that they would have around 50,000 documents to scrutinise.

This would “clearly take some time for my team to get through”, he said.

He said he was conscious that it was now five years since the death of Sheku Bayoh, but it was “impossible” to say at this stage how long the inquiry would take.

Skeku Bayoh died on 3 May 2015 in Kirkcaldy while being restrained by police officers.

The purpose of the inquiry is to examine the circumstances leading to his death, how the police dealt with the aftermath, the subsequent investigation into the death and whether race was a factor.

The inquiry can also make recommendations to prevent further deaths in similar circumstances.

The independent inquiry is being led by Lord Bracadale, with the support of Michael Fuller and Raju Bhatt, who have been appointed as assessors, or specialist advisers, to support him.

In his opening statement as the inquiry began on Monday, Lord Bracadale said: “While the inquiry is funded by the Scottish Government, I must stress that it will operate independently from the government or any other organisation.

“It will be conducted with transparency and openness.

“Hearings will be broadcast so everyone can access the inquiry.

“As well as being independent, the inquiry is also entirely impartial.

“The inquiry’s role is inquisitorial: it will carry out its own investigation into the facts surrounding the death of Mr Bayoh and subsequent events.

“To assist me in carrying out a thorough and impartial investigation, I expect complete co-operation from all participants and that all relevant material will be made available without delay.

“It has now been over five years since the death of Mr Bayoh and I, and my team, are conscious of the length of time this has hung over all involved, particularly the Bayoh family.

“We will work with determination and focus to ensure the work can be completed as quickly as possible.

“It is, however, at this stage impossible to say how long the Inquiry will take.

“It is only from today, the setting-up date of the inquiry, that we are allowed by law to start in gathering the evidence.”

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