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Sheku Bayoh Family hits out

Sheku Bayoh: Mother of man who died in police custody hits out after a lawyer issues legal threat over Facebook page
26 MAY 2015

DAILY RECORD by Sarah Vesty
A warning letter was sent from PBW Law, who represent the officers involved in the death, warning a Facebook page set up has broken the law.

© HEMEDIA / SWNS GroupAamer Anwar (centre) and Colette Bell (second left) the partner of dad of two Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody

THE mother of a man who died in police custody has hit out after a lawyer issued a legal threat to the family.

A warning letter was sent from PBW Law, who represent the officers involved in the death, warning that a Facebook page set up in memory of Sheku Bayoh has broken the law.

His furious mother, Aminata Bayoh, broke her silence to brand the legal threat “shameful”.

And 31-year-old Sheku’s partner Collette Bell, mother of their four-month-old son Isaac, said she was “disgusted” by the letter.

Leading criminal defence lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is working on behalf of Sheku’s family, said: “It is very sad that a family in the midst of their grief have been forced to campaign simply to get answers on what happened to Sheku.

“No family should have to endure what they are going through and certainly nobody with any decency and compassion would attempt to silence them.

Surely now is the time for the police officers involved to speak up and tell the truth. This Sunday, 21 days will have passed since Sheku’s death, the longer the police refuse to speak the harder it becomes for the family and the community to keep an open mind.

I would urge Chief Constable Stephen House to take control of the situation and order his officers to co-operate with PIRC if public confidence is to be restored.”

Mum Aminata said:

“How dare these lawyers threaten my family and Sheku’s friends. Do they have no shame? I have not even been able to bury my only son, yet this man abuses my family and thinks he can silence a grieving mother.”

Sheku died after a struggle with up to nine officers in Kirkcaldy on May 3.

PBW Law owner Peter Watson issued a statement on behalf of the Scottish Police Federation and the officers involved days after Sheku’s death.

He claimed Sheku “punched, kicked and stamped on” a female officer.

None of this has been proved and a probe into the death is still underway.

Collette said: “All we are after is the truth.”

Watson’s company warned the family the Facebook page was “in breach of criminal law”.

The email from the firm was sent on Monday, May 18, and stated that a post on the Facebook page was a breach of the criminal law.

The post named the WPC who was allegedly injured during the altercation. It was removed shortly after.

Watson denied the email had been sent directly to the family. He said: “The email was sent to the official site monitoring Facebook provides.”

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