Friday, 17 August 2012

Lockerbie unlikely to be subject of first Scottish double-jeopardy retrial

[What follows is the text of a report in today’s edition of The Scotsman:]

Prosecutors have revealed that they plan to launch a double-jeopardy case within the coming months.

However, Anthony McGeehan, procurator fiscal in Glasgow, would not be drawn on when the application might be brought, nor who it might aim to convict.

The murders of Surjit Singh Chhokar, Amanda Duffy, and teenagers Helen Scott and Chistine Eadie, as well as the Lockerbie bombing, which claimed the lives of 270 people, are all being investigated to see whether a new trial can be brought.

The Scottish Government’s Double Jeopardy Act 2011 allows prosecutors to try people twice if certain new evidence comes to light.

However, Mr McGeehan would not be drawn on which of the cases might be brought first.

“But I would not expect it to be the last one,” he said.

[As I wrote on this blog on 27 November 2011:]

I would be astounded if prosecutors sought to re-indict Lamin Fhimah.  The Crown Office is just as aware as the rest of us are that the astonishing thing about the Zeist trial was not the acquittal of Fhimah but the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi.  Any "new evidence" that has emerged since 2001 points clearly towards the innocence of the accused Libyans rather than their guilt, as the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission amongst others has pointed out.


  1. The repeal of double jeopardy was an outrage to facilitate the conviction of the alleged murders of Stephen Lawrence, despite an absence of new evidence.

    That worked because the two accused had a defence team that didn’t question the forensics or the real significance of the surveillance tape that did not contain any admission of guilt - and because they never had the benefit of a justice campaign!

    This wouldn’t apply in a rerun of the Lockerbie case, because the international interest would prevent another show trial – which is why it won’t happen.

    It is just mentioned to maintain the pretence of an on-going criminal investigation.

  2. It's the Chhokar case, if anything, I think. That murder happened in the village where I was born and brought up, and I've been following it a bit.

    They've got nothing on Lamin Fhimah at all. They had nothing at Zeist, and that was their best shot. It only gets worse from then on. The double jeopardy talk was nothing but bluster.