[This is the heading over an article by Dr Swire published today on the Newsnet Scotland website. It reads in part:]
When I first entered the Zeist court to attend the trial of Abdelbaset al Megrahi and [Al-Amin] Khalifa Fahima, I presumed that they must be guilty and that the evidence led in court would support this. Instead as the prosecution case unfolded I came to a firm conclusion that the case against them was not coherent and that much of the prosecution evidence was tainted.
Since then new evidence has again suggested gross interference with witnesses. In addition, Mr Megrahi's second appeal, before it was withdrawn, had already revealed a failure by the Crown Office, aided by the Whitehall government Advocate General and even a PII certificate from the Foreign Secretary, to share information with the defence. Such behaviour is not in line with established practice in Scottish criminal law.
Unfortunately this behaviour is in line with the criticisms made on this very issue by Prof Hans Koechler, UN Observer at the Zeist trial. However it was the court hearings at Zeist which originally convinced me (and many other observers, including a number of highly qualified lawyers) that this verdict should never have been reached at Zeist.
Much that has come to light about the case since then has reinforced that position. (...)
Prior to the trial I had campaigned as strongly as I could, for trial under Scots law, believing it to be amongst the fairest available and fearing that any trial under US law would lead to summary conviction and the death sentence. I remain at a loss as to why their Lordships failed to see the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. As usual it is easy to criticise them in retrospect, but this seems to me an unfair and unproductive exercise. Let us just mark their CVs with the phrase ‘could have done better’.
I believe we cannot leave it there: to do so would be grossly unfair to Mr Megrahi and his family, and an intolerable burden on the memory of those who died. Mr Megrahi himself now seems to wrestle with guilt feelings over having withdrawn his appeal.
Beyond that however I also believe that the outcome has severely damaged the previous good reputation of our judicial system in Scotland. That I think should concern us all, for our citizens need to be able to believe that their judicial system will act independently of political or any other improper external pressure. Indeed justice should be, and be seen to be a faithful bulwark for the citizen even against his own government should he feel unfairly treated by it.
I believe the fall-out from this dreadful case has demolished many thinking Scottish people’s confidence in the objectivity of their justice system, and that only an independent review of this case and the evidence for and against the verdict can restore that.
The Fatal Accident Inquiry, the investigation and the trial and first appeal were all of Scottish provenance, so were the findings of the SCCRC. Before we can answer the questions raised by the FAI findings concerning Whitehall, and in the absence of Mr Megrahi's appeal, we need the Government of Scotland to find a way to re-examine what has been done in her name in this case. Without that, confidence in our judicial system cannot be restored.