Monday, 6 February 2012

Justice Committee hearing on SCCRC disclosure Bill

The Scottish Parliament Justice Committee’s hearing of evidence on Part 2 of the Criminal Cases (Punishment  and Review) (Scotland) Bill will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, 7 February) at 10am in Holyrood’s Committee Room 1.  The agenda for the meeting can be read here and the written submissions to the committee here

Apart from representatives of the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, those scheduled to give evidence are Sir Gerald Gordon QC (the member of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission who was in charge of the investigation into the Megrahi conviction), Mr James Chalmers of the University of Edinburgh School of Law and two representatives from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

A press release issued by Justice for Megrahi  contains the following:

10.00 hrs    Dr Jim Swire, Len Murray, Robert Forrester and Iain McKie all members of the JFM committee give evidence to the Justice Committee.
11.00 hrs    Dr Swire and the above available for interview/photographs. 

Justice for Megrahi argue that the Criminal Cases (Punishment  and Review) (Scotland) Bill instead of making the publication of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission’s (SCCRC) report,  which  concluded a miscarriage of justice may have befallen Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, easier in reality effectively blocks such a release.  In its submission the committee state:

“A cynic might suspect that Part 2 of the Bill has been deliberately designed to ensure that no useful disclosure of SCCRC material is possible under its terms…….Whether or not that is its purpose that is its effect.”

“It is submitted that the Justice Committee should recommend to the Scottish Government that, if it genuinely wishes to see meaningful disclosure of SCCRC material in the Megrahi case, it should (a) reconsider the possibility of proceeding by statutory instrument and (b) formulate a scheme which, unlike the one set out in the Bill, is designed to achieve rather than impede this objective.”

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