Below is the statement made by Kenny MacAskill to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon. My comments are in regular typeface at the end of each section.
The minute of the relevant meeting, which took place on 10 August 2009, runs to just 1 page, at least a third of which is taken up by the list of attendees, and contains only five points. It cannot possibly be described as a full minute. You can view it . The minister should state who produced the minute and whether they did so contemporaneously.
The minute quite clearly refutes nothing. The alleged conversation in question would almost certainly not have been minuted.
See first comment above.
This does not preclude Mr MacAskill telling Mr Obedi that it would be easier for him to grant compassionate release if Abdelbaset dropped his appeal.
This is close to an absolute denial of Obedi’s claim. However, according to Abdelbaset, Obedi said that MacAskill told him dropping the appeal would make it easier for him to grant compassionate release, not that it would aid or effect the application. This is a subtle difference, which may or may not be significant.
Really? Even though it would have dragged the reputation of the Crown Office through the mud?
It was, in fact, a matter for Abdelbaset alone.
So what? Abdelbaset was desperate and was willing to do whatever it took to get home.
This gives the misleading impression that my radio interview constituted a climbdown. In fact what I said in that interview is entirely consistent with the book, which makes clear that the claim was hearsay.
I am not qualified to comment in depth on the legal issues raised here, however, a number of better qualified commentators have observed that the government, despite what it claims, has littered the road to publication with more obstacles than are necessary. It seems as if – much like Abdelbaset’s appeal – the whole process has been complicated in the hope that the delay will draw some of the sting from publication.
Why not hold an inquiry into the devolved issue of the Crown Office’s handling of the case?
I doubt that the Crown Office would be so comfortable with a new appeal given that it would be accountable to the High Court for its failure to disclose exculpatory evidence to Abdelbaset’s original defence team.