THE retired judge Lord Bracadale is to chair the independent public inquiry into the death of Shekua Bayoh in police custody.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed the appointment this morning.

Announced in November, the inquiry will examine the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh’s death in Kirkcaldy in 2015 and whether race played a part in the police response..

The 31-year-old trainee gas engineer from Sierra Leone was restrained by up to nine police officers using CS spray, pepper spray and batons.

The officers had responded to calls about a “large black man” waving a knife, shouting at cars and behaving erratically.

Mr Bayoh, who had taken the drugs MDMA and Flakka, suffered 23 separate injuries.

After Lord Advocate James Wolffe said the officers would not be prosecuted, Mr Yousaf announced an inquiry into the circumstances of the death under pressure from Mr Bayoh's family and their solicitor Aamer Anwar.

READ MORE: Public inquiry to be launched into death of Fife man after restraint by police officers

Mr Yousaf said he would meet Lord Bracadale, the Bayoh family and others over the coming weeks to discuss the terms of reference, before reporting to Parliament in due course. 

He said: “I am delighted that Lord Bracadale has agreed to chair this Public Inquiry. 

“Lord Bracadale brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important task of providing a clear understanding of the circumstances surrounding Mr Bayoh’s death.

“The Public Inquiry and its recommendations will identify lessons and improvements for the future to help prevent deaths in similar circumstances and build trust and confidence in policing.”

Lord Bracadale said: "I welcome the invitation to chair the Public Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh.  

“I am grateful to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice for appointing me. 

“I know that Mr Bayoh’s family and other interested parties, as well as the general public, will expect a careful and thorough examination of the facts. I very much hope that my inquiry will provide an open and transparent means of exploring the issues."

READ MORE: No charges over death of Sheku Bayoh

Lord Bracadale was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Justiciary, Scotland’s supreme criminal court. in 2003 and appointed to the Inner House in 2013. 

In 1995 he was appointed Queen's Counsel, while in 1997-1998 he served as Home Advocate Depute. 

He presided over some of the most high-profile criminal trials in recent Scottish history.

He jailed former MSP Tommy Sheridan for perjury in 2011 and a year later sentenced David Gilroy to life for murdering Suzanne Pilley.

He retired as a judge in 2017 and conducted a review into hate crime legislation on behalf of the Scottish Government.