Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Justice Committee hears Kenny MacAskill on SCCRC Megrahi disclosure Bill

[The following is an excerpt from the report on the BBC Democracy Live website of yesterday’s appearance before the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee of Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill:]

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the Criminal Cases Bill "confirms our commitment to be as open and transparent as possible" about the Lockerbie bomber's case.

Mr MacAskill was giving evidence to the Justice Committee on 21 February 2012.

The Scottish government's Criminal Cases [(Punishment and Review) (Scotland)] Bill could permit publication of information about the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who abandoned his second appeal days before he was sent home to Libya on compassionate grounds.

It would let the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) decide whether information it gathered and referred to the Appeal Court should be published.

At the Justice Committee on 7 February 2012, the Justice for Megrahi group said the Criminal Cases Bill "could create as many difficulties as it could solve".

The justice secretary told MSPs he disagreed with campaigners who believed it was possible for Scottish ministers to deal with the issue of publication of information relating to Megrahi's appeal through subordinate legislation.

He inisted the bill was "the most appropriate vehicle" to allow the SCCRC to release the information or not as it saw fit.

Mr MacAskill confirmed that UK Justice Secretary Ken Clarke was in discussions with the SCCRC about the case.

[A report in today’s edition of The Sun can be read here.]


  1. Can I have some guidance from the lawyers amongst you, please?
    Kenny MacAskill seems to be saying that the discussions must be between Ken Clarke and the SCCRC because it is they (the latter) who know the contents of the report. Why is that relevent? Surely that does not put the Committee in a position to negotiate on the issue for the Scottish Government.
    Also, does this suggest that the American agencies or Gaucci himself will have no say on whether their evidence in the document is released unredacted although Ken Clarke can decide on these issues? In whose interests is Ken Clarke working?

  2. Grendal, all MacAskill is doing is passing the buck. He knows he initially blocked publication: many of us know this too so I for one don't see why he continues to avoid admitting this.

    JFM have repeatedly pointed out this was a crime committed in Scotland, investigated in Scotland and prosecuted in Scotland (even if in Zeist) under Scots Law. This is therefore a Scottish affair. That MacAskill seeks to drag Westminster into it after his earlier tantrums about England "interfering in the integrity of Scots Law" is risible.