Lord Bracadale says Sheku Bayoh inquiry to be ‘thorough and fearless’
The independent public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh will be “thorough and fearless”, its chair has said.
In a video statement to mark the opening of the inquiry, Lord Bracadale set out the background to the inquiry, its purpose, how it will be carried out and how people can keep updated on its progress.
Mr Bayoh died in May 2015 after an incident in the street in Kirkcaldy involving officers of Police Scotland.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf announced the inquiry in November 2019 and Lord Bracadale was appointed chair in January 2020.
On 26 November, Mr Yousaf announced to the Scottish Parliament that the inquiry would begin on 30 November.
In his opening statement, Lord Bracadale highlighted the inquiry’s independence and impartiality.
He said: “Today we launch an investigation that will be thorough and fearless. 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.”
The inquiry’s website is now live and carries a link to Lord Bracadale’s statement.
The site, www.shekubayohinquiry.scot, will provide updates on timescales and progress throughout the duration of the inquiry.
In his statement, Lord Bracadale confirmed that the inquiry would now begin gathering evidence.
He added: “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 ingathering the evidence.
“Preliminary discussions with some of the organisations involved lead us to believe that we will have in the region of 50,000 documents to scrutinise. This will clearly take some time for my team to get through.”