Thursday, 7 March 2013

Advice to Crown Office: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging

[Following the recent media disagreement over whether the Libyan government regarded the Lockerbie case as closed or not closed, a Scottish Crown Office official emailed Lockerbie relatives in the following terms:]

Following my e-mail on Friday many of you have contacted us to ask about the apparent disparity between the terms of that message and the terms of the article in the Daily Telegraph and other media outlets on 1 March.

I can confirm that the Libyan Ministry of Justice issued a statement of clarification on 1 March which reads as follows:

"Sighting a report published at the Telegraph on February 28th 2013 by Ruth Sherlock in Tripoli, the Ministry of Justice confirms that no Ministry of Justice official other than the Minister Salah Marghani is or was authorized to speak on behalf of the Ministry or indeed the Libyan Government.  Mr Hameda Al-Magery has not been authorized to speak and any thing he has said or may be said on this subject should only be considered as personal views of the concerned person not be substantiated and may not be taken in any official context.

"The Ministry position on the subject remains as stated by the Libyan Government during the recent valuable visit paid to Libya by his excellency the prime Mr David Cameron and Libya shall always value the friendship and cooperation between UK and the new Libya."

We continue to work with US, UK and Libyan colleagues to progress the investigation and will continue to keep you all updated where possible.

We hope that offers you all a degree of reassurance.

[RB: Here is what the minister himself, Salah Marghani, is quoted in the Telegraph article as saying: “The matter was settled with the Gaddafi regime. I am trying to work on the current situation rather than dig into the past.”

Dr Jim Swire has replied to the Crown Office official in the following terms:]

I know that in writing you are simply doing your job as a mouthpiece for the Lord Advocate, and none of what follows should be taken personally.

It would be more likely that your statement [above] would reassure us if it included some defined reference as to what the Crown Office et al are actually doing in real time to discover how it came about that the one forensic link supposedly pointing to a bomb powered by a Libyan-provided timer from Malta, has turned out to be false. Particularly as the prosecution's own documents show that your forensic officer Mr Feraday knew, and recorded, long before the trial, that that alleged forensic link was not a true match from the alleged Libyan owned timer boards, and yet had signed up to say that the two 'were similar in all respects'.

Feraday was employed by the Crown Office to provide accurate forensic reports, was he not?

However the continuing activity in Malta and Libya, based on an apparently fatally flawed investigation and unfair trial appears to be fulfilling the role of protecting the terrorists who were really responsible for the murder of our families. Any contribution to that protection is intolerable and in the end will become unsustainable.

The expenditure of public monies on searching in Malta and Libya would be justified, and indeed hugely welcome to all relatives, were there a sound foundation on which to base it. There are now  valid reasons, within the reach of all interested parties if they will only look, for believing that not only the relatives, but their Lordships themselves and the people of Scotland deserved much better from the prosecuting authorities in this case than was actually delivered.

Not once, except for the self evidently honest letter I received from Patrick Shearer has there been any sign visible that serious attention was being paid to these allegations. Even in his letter to me, for which I remain very grateful, the Chief Constable concluded that there had been no suppression of the Heathrow evidence, despite the unequivocal evidence he had produced earlier in the same letter that the force had known about the break-in, courtesy of the Metropolitan police, from January 1989.

It is insufficient to hint as you seem to in your previous letter on behalf of the Lord Advocate, replying to mine to him, that the Crown Office may be prepared to consider 'exculpatory evidence'. There needs to be belated but immediate, urgent action to investigate such evidence.

It is not so much that public money may be being wasted, or even lives put at risk on repeated forays into the Middle East. What matters to us is that the real perpetrators of this terrible crime be identified and publicly exposed, whether or not they can now be brought before a court.

1 comment:

  1. At a guess I would say the Libyan Ministry of Justice, statement of clarification was written by the Crown Office.

    And yet ‘their’ statement, in italics, did not mention the investigation or clarify whether they considered the case, open or closed.

    Only the bit at the end from the Crown Office, not in italics, mentioned the investigation.

    In other words the Crown Office prepared a form of words the Libyan Ministry of Justice could agree to and then spun the statement to mean more than it says?