Before Lord Advocate James Wolfe QC
Crown Office, 25 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LA
Wednesday 3 October - 11:30 am 
31 year old Sheku Bayoh died after being restrained by five police officers on 3 May 2015, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. The Lord Advocate has today ruled that there will be no criminal prosecutions brought against any of the officers involved. The decision was also made that Police Scotland will not face corporate manslaughter or health and safety charges.
Sheku, a black man born in Sierra Leone, was a trainee gas engineer and father of two. His death has been of significant controversy, raising community concern over racism within Police Scotland.
On the morning of 3 May 2015, police received a call about a man behaving unusually. Sheku was stopped by police and was held face down on the ground within 46 seconds of the arrival of the first two officers. During the restraint, officers used CS spray, batons, leg and ankle restraints and handcuffs. A post-mortem revealed that he sustained facial injuries, bruises to his body and a fracture to his rib. Around an hour and a half after the restraint, he was pronounced dead.
16 months after the death, the Police Investigations Review Commissioner submitted their review to the Lord Advocate. Since then the family has had to wait an additional two years to learn whether the Lord Advocate would bring charges against the police.
The family of Sheku Bayoh said: “Sheku was a much-loved son, brother, father and partner to Collette, who will never be forgotten. The dead cannot cry out for Justice, but the living have a duty to do so for them. We will continue the fight for Sheku but no longer have faith in our justice system to do the right thing. People said to us that the police are above the law, and because Sheku was black, we would never get justice. That is exactly what has happened."
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: “The decision not to prosecute the police involved, at an individual or corporate level, is deeply disappointing but sadly predictable. It follows a long history of failures to prosecute restraint related deaths across the UK, even where there is evidence of neglect or excessive force. 

For nearly three and a half years the family have had to face a series of unacceptable delays and obfuscation by the investigation and review system. 

The disproportionate use of force against black people is well documented, and the death of Sheku has rightly been a case of serious community concern. A public inquiry is needed to examine the broader issues and provide this family with the truth, justice and accountability they need to ensure future deaths are prevented."
The family’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: “The family are devastated and feel nothing but a total betrayal by the Lord Advocate’s decision not to prosecute any of the officers or Police Scotland. Every institution from the police, those who investigate the police, and now the Lord Advocate, have failed to hold to an account any of these officers. 

The family met the Justice Minister this afternoon and were encouraged that he will give serious consideration to demands for a public inquiry. The family will accept nothing less and will pursue the police through the courts for the truth, because without truth there can be no justice.”


For further information please contact Sarah Uncles on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected] 

INQUEST has been working with the family of Sheku Bayoh. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Aamer Anwar of Aamer Anwar & Co Solicitors.

Today (3 October) the family, lawyer and Deborah Coles met with the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, to ask him to hold a public inquiry into the case.