Scotland’s top prosecutor has appealed for calm from all sides as the investigation into the death of Sheku Bayoh continues.
The 31 year-old from Kirkcaldy died after being arrested by police on Hayfield Road in the early morning of May 3.
Mr Bayoh’s death is the subject of a long-running investigation by the Police Investigations Review Commissioner (Pirc), directed by the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC.
He said the Pirc and the Crown were “well aware of all the evidence, the lines of inquiry and the issues surrounding the case” and asked that they be allowed to “get on with their job” amid intense media interest in the case.
Mr Mulholland’s intervention follows a public row between Aamer Anwar, the lawyer representing the Bayoh family, and former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill
He said: “The Crown and Pirc are not influenced by comments made in the media and that is how it should be.
“However, speculation and a running commentary on the investigation can be upsetting to the family of Sheku Bayoh as well as the families of the officers involved.
“A decision will be taken at the end of this extremely complex investigation as to whether or not criminal proceedings should be raised.
He continued: “An inquiry will also be held at which all the relevant evidence will be heard, open to the public and the media, and it is right that it is this forum where the evidence will be rigorously tested and judicially assessed.
“Pirc, and the Crown, should be allowed to get on with their job.”
Earlier this week, Mr MacAskill accused campaigners of creating a “poisonous atmosphere” in which individual officers had been targeted.
His comments were welcomed by Prof Peter Watson, a lawyer representing police officers involved in the case.
Mr Anwar responded by accusing Mr MacAskill and Mr Watson of “yet another attempt to divert attention from why Sheku Bayoh died”.