[This is the heading over a report in Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm recording Dr Jim Swire's personal reaction to the Scottish Government's letter to the Public Petitions Committee responding to the petition seeking an independent inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi. It reads as follows:]
My first and personal reaction to the Scottish Government's (SG's) reply to the Holyrood Petitions Committee's presentation of JFM's petition to the SG is to feel shame.
Shame that we in Scotland should have been reduced to listening to reasoning which seems not to have any merit other than a blatant desire by deep and powerful groups within our body politic to try to protect themselves against exposure of the monstrous mistakes which seem to have been made in the past, chiefly surrounding the Zeist conviction of Baset Al-Megrahi.
The SG claims to have total faith in the verdict reached at Zeist despite our own SCCRC having no such confidence.
They seek to lay responsibility for the present impasse upon the shoulders of the man who they proclaim unquestioningly to believe to be the most brutal mass murderer ever to inflict his deeds upon our nation.
They even seek to blame the absence of successful appeals thus far, not upon the quality of the evidence and proceedings, but upon the decisions which the alleged mass murderer himself made, namely the decision not to speak for himself in court at Zeist, and later, in the face of a lingering and painful death (as well as subsequent representations by his own dictatorial government and a visit by the SG's own Justice Minister), to withdraw his second appeal.
How could a defendant from an alien culture be expected to ignore the advice of his own expert defence team of the day at Zeist, steeped as they supposedly were in the antecedents of Scottish law, and working as they must be presumed to have been for his advantage? The performance of his then defence team, and thus the advice not to speak in court, must itself be part of any inquiry into how this man came to be convicted, and the verdict reached, on such evidence.
As for the decision to withdraw his second appeal, this was reached following disgraceful and deliberate delaying tactics in the High Court by the Crown Office team, which knew that the appellant's time was running out in the face of an inexorable, painful and terminal medical condition. The Crown Office conduct of the second appeal, far from being a secure tool in justification of the validity of the original verdict is another aspect of the despicable way in which our nation has treated this man's case: it too should be added to any full inquiry into the verdict and its consequences.
The SG's Justice Secretary had responsibility for the decision to free Megrahi on compassionate grounds. The SG cannot for one moment argue against the desperate situation he and they knew him to be in.
And what have they done to bolster this whole dishonest process? They have sought to isolate the material used by the SCCRC when evaluating the safety of the verdict, by introducing secondary legislation in February 2010, clearly designed to keep that material out of the reach of all who would challenge the propriety of their own position.
Through the SCCRC, the legal arm of government has told the political arm of Government and the rest of us as clearly as its constitution allows, that this verdict is considered unsafe. The SG knows that, yet in its desperation to conceal what looks like the failure of many of the servants of this State, the best it can do is to claim that the actions taken by a frightened and dying human being from a different culture justify it's own actions.
The SG has also now admitted that its original claim that it lacked the powers to mount an inquiry (such as that requested through petition by JFM), was untrue. Multiple 'reasons' seeking to justify avoiding taking an action inevitably become just excuses. When some of those 'reasons' turn out to have been untrue, any claim to integrity is also lost.
Whence then stems the SG's belief that the verdict is safe? Does it stem from Westminster? Or from Washington? It simply cannot stem from our own legal system. So much for Scotland's integrity and independence.
If ever there could be further reason to seek review of this case, it lies within this SG document. Any attempt to ascribe motivation for such behaviour points down the very same road as the McKie case and a number of others: the objective of Scotland's Government and some of those who work for it seems to have become to conceal the depths of failure into which we the electorate have, thus far, allowed them to sink.