Sheku Bayoh inquiry hears police officers want immunity

Sheku Bayoh
Sheku Bayoh

source: The Scotsman
published: 22 February 2022

At a preliminary hearing for the public inquiry into the death of the 31-year-old after being restrained by police, lawyers warned that there could be “unanswered questions and uncertainty” from a lack of answers unless they were given certain immunity.

Lawyers for the Scottish Police Federation and the officers involved want undertakings that no evidence given to the inquiry by any officer will be used against them in any criminal proceedings or used to decide if they should be prosecuted.

The argument was supported by the inquiry’s senior counsel, Angela Grahame, who said: “Witnesses are more likely to be frank and honest with their inquisitor if there will be no adverse consequences to them arising from their evidence, such as the use of their evidence in a criminal prosecution or disciplinary proceedings against them.”

The family of Mr Bayoh, through a statement released by lawyer Aamer Anwar, said it would be an “astonishing position” for the officers involved to refuse to give evidence to the inquiry.

Opposing the proposals, Claire Mitchell said: “The family of Sheku Bayoh have a legitimate expectation that police officers will give every assistance after a serious incident. And that expectation extends to come into a public inquiry and answering all and any legitimate unreal event questions put to it by the inquiry.”

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