Sheku Bayoh: ’Devastated’ family say no charges against police

Sheku Bayoh
Sheku Bayoh

The family of Sheku Bayoh, who died while being restrained by police, have said no officers will face criminal charges.

Their statement came after a meeting with the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, QC, the head of Scotland’s prosecution service, in Edinburgh today.

However, a statement from the Crown Officer said the meeting was held to inform the family on “the status of the case” and made no reference to any decision on criminal charges.

The family described the outcome as ”nothing but a total betrayal”.

Mr Bayoh died on a Kirkcaldy street in May 2015 while being restrained by officers responding to calls from the public about a man behaving erratically and brandishing a knife.

Following today’s meetings with the family and their lawyer, Mr Aamer Anwar, the Crown Office noted: “The Crown‎ has conducted this investigation with professionalism, integrity and respect.

“It is committed to ensuring that the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh are fully aired in an appropriate legal forum and, to that end, it has discussed possible next steps with a small number of colleagues in the justice system.”

The spokesman described it as “a complex investigation” and added that the Crown office “appreciates that it has been a difficult time for Mr Bayoh’s family and for all those involved”, adding: “In order to protect any potential proceedings and to preserve the rights of the family, the Crown will not comment further at this stage.”

Members of Mr Bayoh’s family and supporters gathered outside the Crown Office ahead of the meeting.

A statement issued afterwards spoke of Police Scotland, PIRC and the Crown Office “failing to hold to account those responsible for the death of Sheku Bayoh.”

It acknowledged Mr Bayoh “was under the influence of drugs” at the time of the incident but added: “He did not deserve to die.

“He acted out of character. The police had every right to act if he had broken the law to defend themselves, but any force used had to be reasonable, proportionate and legitimate.”

It said they now knew there was no knife and that he was “was attacked three times” before he reacted when he was face down in the street.

Mr Amwar said it had been “a long hard struggle” for the family, who have campaigned for three years to find out what happened to Mr Bayoh.

“They expected truth, justice and accountability,” he said. “They have fought for that for three and half years, and are entitled to that today.”