Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A' cur na mearachd ceart

This is the headline over a long article on the Lockerbie case by Seonaidh Caimbeul in the Gaelic pages of The Scotsman on Saturday, 28 August. In it I am quoted as comparing the miscarriage of justice involved in Abdelbaset Megrahi's conviction to that involved in the conviction of Oscar Slater in 1909 for the murder of Marion Gilchrist. The latter took eighteen years to be rectified. Perhaps the injustice inflicted upon Megrahi can be remedied in a shorter time for the benefit of his family, even if the man himself is not alive to see it.


  1. Oh dear...

    AN Edinburgh hotelier has been ordered to carry out 160 hours of community service for threatening to kill police officers and medical staff and breaching the peace at his B&B.

    It was alleged William Preston, 58, had hit business student Samuel Hogue, 25, with a glass when a pleasant discussion over a few whiskies turned sour when the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi came up.


  2. The late (and great) Ludovic Kennedy mentioned the Slater case in regard to the campaign against capital punishment - his reference being, Slater (an innocent man convicted on 'mistaken' identity) narrowly missed being executed.
    Perhaps, Megrahi is lucky the plane exploded on this side of the Atlantic. [Albeit, I acknowledge New Jersey don't have a capital punishment statute and New York has declared it unconstitutional - two amongst a few states who seem to have a more compassionate view]

  3. Yes, yes Blogiston, I bet Megrahi gives thanks daily for how "lucky" he is!!!!!!!!

    What you seem to overlook is the fact that compassion didn't need to come into this matter.

    1)Had he had a fair trial in the first place he would not have been in this position.

    2)Had "due process" truly applied his appeal would have been heard no compassionate release would have been necessary. He would have been freed, almost certainly, and a miscarriage of justice been declared.

  4. Yes the Oscar Slater case was something that made a deep impression on me as a law student, a dreadful miscarriage of justice, bigoted judge giving shocking charge to jury, indications that senior politicians knew the truth (commutation of life sentence), racial aspects, etc. In my naivety I thought it could never happen again. What an idiot I was. And this time the State didn't even need to convince a jury.

  5. I think Blogiston may be right. On the other hand why the the US authorities decide to leave M&F to the vagaries of a Scottish court system? We know that the US authorities FBI, DoJ, CIA had to be told that the Scottish courts would consider it amiss if M&F were abducted out of Libyan jurisdiction into Scottish, and were obviously prevailed on not to do it.

    I think from the time of the open accusations against M&F resulting from the FGJ, which can be kept secret, the Americans knew that would have to put up with a more tedious Scottish procedure and had reconciled themselves to a Scottish trial.

    Did US Government officials ever meet with the trial judges? Can anyone answer that. Sutherland and co., will certainly never tell us.