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Sheku Bayoh death: Scottish Police Federation accuses family’s lawyer of ‘hyperbolic, inaccurate and bizarre rhetoric’

The circumstances around Sheku Bayoh's death are being investigated.
The circumstances around Sheku Bayoh's death are being investigated.

Police officers involved in an incident that resulted in the death of Kirkcaldy man Sheku Bayoh a month ago are set to provide statements.

The move comes as the Scottish Police Federation’s chairman accused Aamer Anwar, the lawyer representing Mr Bayoh’s family, of “hyperbolic, inaccurate and bizarre rhetoric.”

Police have come under heavy criticism from the Bayoh family and Mr Anwar over the investigation into the death of the 31-year-old.

Mr Anwar said that nine police officers involved in the incident on Sunday May 3 in which the father-of-two lost consciousness and later died after being restrained have still to be interviewed in the independent inquiry.

Brian Docherty, Chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “Mr Anwar can try to throw whatever mud he wishes but the fact remains that a petite female police officer was violently assaulted by a large male and believed she was going to die as a consequence.

“In directing increasingly hyperbolic, inaccurate and bizarre rhetoric at the Scottish Police Federation, one could be mistaken for believing that Mr Anwar being at the centre of attention appears to be of greater importance than allowing the investigation to proceed without interference.”

The independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) is carrying out a probe into the incident.

Professor Peter Watson, the federation’s legal advisor said: “The comments made by those representing the family of the deceased continue to promote a completely inaccurate and misleading account. “The officer injured remains off work, has had several hospital visits and is now in rehabilitation. An examination by a leading consultant confirms her injuries were significant. The injuries have been documented and photographed.

“The officers involved have never refused to provide statements. It was agreed at the outset with PIRC that they would revert to us when they wanted statements and when they were clear on the basis that statements were to be given. PIRC emailed me this morning at 10:46am asking for our assistance to organise interviews and we answered at 11:29am confirming we would be pleased to assist. Those are the facts.”

Mr Anwar stressed he would not become embroiled in a mud-slinging match or reply to person comments made against him but reiterated the issue was that those involved should be speaking to the PIRC.

“The family are quite entitled to want to know what happened.”

Adding the “golden hours” are following a death in custody, when an investigation takes place, he said: “It is unacceptable that Police Scotland officers should wait a month before providing details of what has happened.”

He added: “It keeps coming back to this again and again what’s so unreasonable about a family demanding to know what happened?

“This is about the death of a young man, a father of two young children, a family grieving, who have been forced to set up a campaign to get answers.

“I remain instructed by his family to seek answers.”

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