Friday, 21 August 2009

Lord Advocate drops appeal against Megrahi sentence

Scotland's top prosecutor today dropped an appeal against the "lenient" jail term imposed on the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 57, was freed from prison yesterday on compassionate grounds.

He had been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum 27 years – a term which the Crown was appealing against as "unduly lenient".

The formal decision to drop the appeal was taken after studying medical reports, said the Crown Office.

The decision to drop the appeal was taken by Scotland's top law officer, Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini.

The Crown Office said: "The Lord Advocate has now had the opportunity to consider reports regarding Mr Megrahi's medical condition and prognosis.

"Mr Megrahi is now terminally ill."

The Lord Advocate had taken account of the fact that Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds and was no longer in Scotland.

"Had he remained in custody, he would have had no prospect of serving the current punishment part of his sentence, let alone any increased sentence that the Lord Advocate was seeking," said the Crown Office.

"That together with his release means that the outcome of any appeal could have no practical effect whatsoever for Mr Megrahi."

Megrahi successfully applied to judges on Tuesday to drop his second appeal against conviction for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died.

At that hearing, senior judge Lord Hamilton said it was of the "utmost importance" that the Lord Advocate made an early decision on whether she intended to insist on the appeal.

[The above is the text of a report posted this afternoon on The Scotsman's website.

Trust the Crown Office to reach a decision only after it could have not the slightest significance in the real world (and after not very heavily disguised criticism from the judges at the court hearing on 18 August at which Abdelbaset Megrahi was given leave to abandon his appeal). The conduct of the Crown Office throughout the whole Lockerbie case is one of the strongest arguments for an independent enquiry following Mr Megrahi's abandonment of his appeal; and it is a topic on which the Scottish Government, under the devolution settlement, certainly has the powers to render such an enquiry meaningful.]

1 comment:

  1. Not of any real importance but still somehow strange: How could Mr. MacAskill send Mr. Megrahi abroad when the prosecution´s appeal was still pending?
    Or the other way round: Did the prosecution try - till five past twelve - to disrupt the process of release (including practical things like airplane transport and schedule and so on)?