[This is the headline over a letter from Dr Jim Swire published in today’s edition of The Herald. It reads as follows:]
The aircraft wreckage from the Lockerbie bombing has been moved to Dumfries and Galloway.
I would question the probity of spending so much taxpayers' money on moving material which can add so little to the understanding of the case.
As far as I am concerned the wreckage should be recycled and the money put towards an independent inquiry into the Crown's previous performance. Having it in Scotland, not England, might encourage the realisation that it is up to Scotland to sort out the mess it has made. We must not lose sight of the fact that the bomb which caused this terrible disaster flew in over our border after being loaded at Heathrow.
It may be that this is simply a publicity exercise by the Crown Office to distract attention from the fact it will now have to answer for what I believe is its disastrous mismanagement of the inquiry and trial in the Lockerbie case.
The Justice for Megrahi group has lodged allegations of criminality against bodies and individuals involved in the Lockerbie inquiry and trial. The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has passed the allegations to the Crown Office and through them to the Dumfries and Galloway police, with the result that Patrick Shearer, former Chief Constable of that force, now finds himself in charge of investigating them.
I have met Mr Shearer and been impressed by his integrity and impartiality. So great are the implications of these allegations for the future of Scottish criminal justice that we should all wish Mr Shearer Godspeed in investigating this ancient and tangled case. I am encouraged to believe he is a man who will seek the truth, which is the core of what we UK relatives of the dead seek.
[In an article in today’s Scottish edition of The Sun headlined ‘The dark cloud took a long time to clear over Lockerbie... this news just brings it all back’ Dr Swire is quoted as follows:]
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora, 23, died in the bombing, claimed the wreckage may have been moved back to Scotland as a STUNT to distract from cover-up claims. The Justice for Megrahi campaign has complained to police about the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway cops over claims they hid evidence and perverted the course of justice in Megrahi’s trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.
Dr Swire said: “My number one suspicion would be that moving the wreckage is designed to distract attention from the fact allegations have been made that Scotland has completely misled the world over this terrible case.” The Crown Office declined to comment.
[The Scottish edition of The Times today picks up the story of the return of Pan Am 103 wreckage to Scotland. Its report (behind the paywall) contains the following:]
The Crown Office and detectives from Dumfriesshire are still investigating the case, and in February joined with the FBI to meet Libyan officials in Tripoli, but failed in their efforts to question new witnesses. (...)
Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder at a trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001, but continued to protest his innnocence until his death last May. A posthumous appeal by members of his family, however, appears increasingly unlikely, with some sources suggesting that they are reluctant to antagonise the authorities in Libya by raising the case again.
[It might have been hoped that somewhere in this lengthy article, most of which simply rehearses already well-known facts, space could have been found to mention that Scottish police are currently investigating serious allegations of criminal misconduct in the Lockerbie investigation, prosecution and trial.
Some good sense on the wreckage removal issue is to be found in this post on Oh No! Not another Lockerbie blog...]