Nicola Sturgeon says full inquiry into Sheku Bayoh death is ‘one of the options’

© SuppliedSheku Bayoh
Sheku Bayoh

The First Minister has said holding a full public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh is “one of the options” her government is considering.

Nicola Sturgeon was asked in First Minister’s Questions on Thursday whether she would now commit to an inquiry in the wake of new evidence in the Bayoh case.

The 31-year-old died shortly after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy in 2015.

A BBC documentary aired on Monday showed CCTV and documents which appeared to contradict some of the officers’ accounts of the events leading up to the death.

Ms Sturgeon said: “In terms of a public inquiry into that case and the more general issues raised by that case, as I have said before, that has absolutely not been ruled out by the government.”

The SNP leader said the legal process to determine whether or not there will be a criminal prosecution has not been completed.

She added: “When that process has concluded obviously the government will consider very carefully the next steps at that point.

“And as I have said before obviously one of the options open to the government is a full public inquiry and that is certainly not something that has been ruled out at all by the government.”

Claire Baker, the Fife MSP who wants to a comprehensive public inquiry into the case and wider issues, said many people would have been shocked by BBC Scotland’s Disclosure: Dead in Police Custody.

It was claimed in the programme that the initial response from officers escalated tensions and that racism may have played a role.

New CCTV footage appeared at odds with claims that a female officer was kicked and stamped on by the father-of-two.

Officers used CS gas, pepper spray, batons and leg and arm restraints to arrest the trainee gas engineer, who was under the influence of drugs, on May 3, 2015.

The family of Mr Bayoh, a father-of-two, was told in October by the Lord Advocate there was not enough evidence to prosecute any of the officers involved.

However, the Crown Office has not confirmed the decision publicly and the case officially remains open.