[This is the headline over a report by Greg Christison in the Scottish edition of today’s Sunday Express. The report does not appear to feature on the newspaper’s website, but it reads as follows:]
Alex Salmond is under pressure to launch an inquiry into claims that legal officials and police perverted the course of justice over the Lockerbie bombing.
Campaigners have submitted eight allegations to Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary.
The Justice for Megrahi (JFM) group was told to pass evidence to the force, even though its own officers are named in the report.
The Crown Office will also have a role, despite the most serious allegations being levelled against its own prosecutors.
On Tuesday, Holyrood’s Justice Committee voted that a petition from JFM calling for a public inquiry into the Lockerbie investigation should be kept open until the matter is cleared up.
Independent member John Finnie, said the Crown Office is being allowed to “act as judge and jury while accused.”
He added: “Any organisation – and I include the Crown Office – must have mechanisms to deal with events like this.
“Clearly, the Justice Committee needs to understand whether there are some of the mechanisms already in place or can be put in place to ensure that these very legitimate concerns of great public interest are addressed.”
During the meeting, SNP convener Christine Grahame, who is also a member of the JFM group, was joined by Labour, Lib Dem and Tory MSPs.
JFM secretary Robert Forrester said: “At previous meetings, the Justice Committee split down party lines, but this time they voted unanimously to keep our petition open. And that’s a reflection that the Government – namely Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill – afforded us only one option with our allegations.
“When we asked him to appoint an independent investigator to study our allegations he recommended us to refer them to the very people we were complaining about.
“It was clear that [the committee] regarded this as a highly questionable way in which to treat our allegations. In other words, it appeared the Justice Committee thought our request for an independent investigator was justifiable, absolutely normal and understandable.
“It has put a considerable amount of pressure on the Government to hold an inquiry.”
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who died in May, is the only man ever convicted of the bombing, which killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, in December 1988.
He always maintained his innocence, and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled there may have been a “miscarriage of justice” in his trial.
A Scottish Government spokesman yesterday insisted the complaints are “a matter for a court of law”, while the Crown Office declared the accusations “defamatory” and said they had already been rejected in court.
A spokesman added: “If such evidence is produced, Dumfries and Galloway Police will investigate in accordance with well-established procedures in Scotland.”
* JFM, whose members believe the bomb was planted on Pan Am Flight 103 at Heathrow, will outline their allegations in next weekend’s Scottish Sunday Express.