[What follows is a from a report in today's edition of the Dumfries & Galloway Standard about a visit to Dumfries by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill:]
Mr MacAskill was in Dumfries to meet with Chief Constable Patrick Shearer and
also to see the work of probationary officers and those taking part in firearms
His visit came as further moves were being made in the inquiry into the
The Scottish Government is trying to get round data protection legislation so
that a top secret document drawn up by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review
Commission (SCCRC) can be released.
It was looking at the possibility of a miscarriage of justice in the conviction
of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi but was never published after he dropped his appeal.
Mr MacAskill said: “The Lockerbie investigation remains and open file. Dumfries
and Galloway (police) are acting under the instructions of the Lord Advocate
because although Mr Megrahi is convicted by a Scottish court, no-one ever
suggested that he acted alone, so the file has never been closed.
“Dumfries and Galloway and representatives of the Crown are working at that.
“In terms of the Scottish Criminal Case Review, we are committed to doing what
we said as a government and that is to be as open as we can be.
“I accept, I’ve never seen the document and I’m not allowed to see the
document, that there are difficulties in data protection. That is a matter that
we have raised with Lord Clark, the Lord Chancellor south of the border, [sic: the
Lord Chancellor is, of course, Mr Kenneth Clarke] and I am glad that he has
engaged and is discussing with SCCRC.
“So, we are doing what we have to do to show wiling and to try and achieve the
openness and transparency that we think is necessary.
“Where matters go after that is not a matter for me, it’s for the courts of law
but I stand by the conviction that there is in the Scottish courts.
“If that has to change, then that it would be a matter respected by me.”
[What these last
three sentences are intended by Mr MacAskill to convey is (at least to me) a