[What follows is the text of a report on recent developments distributed yesterday to members and supporters of Justice for Megrahi by the group’s secretary, Robert Forrester:]
You will be aware that petition PE1370 lives to fight on in its quest to be registered in the Guinness Book of Records subsequent to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament (JC) session of 24 September 2013. In no short measure this was due to the eloquent manner in which John Finnie MSP wielded so robustly his elegant cleaver. Our very own Christine Grahame managed what must be something of an awkward situation, being both a member of JFM and the Convener of the JC, most diplomatically. The Committee of JFM fully takes on board her request that we not carpet bomb JC members with submissions of such volume as we have tended to in the past.
The TV recording of the JC consideration of 1370 referred to above may be viewed here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/41407.aspx.
Matters became somewhat circumscribed by DCC Shearer's last minute submission of a letter to the JC concerning the contrasting perceptions of the meeting held at Police Scotland's Dumfries and Galloway Division HQ on 16 August that exist between himself and JFM. This letter, along with all other relevant documents may be read here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/44107.aspx.
On a personal level, and for what it is worth, my opinion of DCC Shearer remains positive. In the two meetings at Cornwall Mount between ourselves and Police Scotland, Patrick Shearer has been a flawless model of friendliness, scrupulous courtesy and professionalism. I also regard him as a consummate politician. However, the JFM recollection of events at Cornwall Mount on 16 August is crystal clear, and, furthermore supported by: Professor Robert Black QC, Detective Superintendent of police (Rtd) Iain McKie and myself, Robert Forrester; moreover, it diverges considerably from the recollection of DCC Shearer.
At the beginning of our 16 August encounter, DCC Shearer informed the three JFM Committee members that he, having identified what he perceived as a potential conflict between our allegations 5, 6 and 7, and the so called 'live and on-going' COPFS investigation into incriminating other Libyan nationals for the downing of 103 alongside Mr al-Megrahi, had approached the Crown Office to seek a resolution to the matter. The result of this consultation was that DCC Shearer was, 'for the time being', apparently, to sideline JFM allegations 5, 6 and 7. Members will be aware that all three allegations relate to the shard of PCB frequently referred to as PT/35b. Moreover that said allegations were all to be spoken to by JFM witness Mr John Ashton.
I am perfectly clear on what occurred. Indeed, in my momentary disbelief, I actually asked DCC Shearer to repeat what he had said to us in order to confirm the detail so that I could report events as accurately as possible to our membership. It is most difficult, in fact impossible, therefore, not to come to the conclusion that Mr Shearer approached the Crown Office in order to obtain permission to drop 5, 6 and 7 from our allegations. These allegations were duly dropped from his investigation as a direct result of his encounter with COPFS. Moreover, you will also recall that I asked him to inform us of who the SIO of the COPFS attempts to implicate further Libyans, alongside Baset, is. This he felt unable to do. My assessment is that he is SIO for both the JFM allegations and that of the much trumpeted COPFS investigation, 'live and on-going' no less, targeting Libya. Otherwise, why did he feel the need to consult COPFS in the first instance? All of the above was reported by me to you at the time and then later publicised in the public domain by Robert Black straight after the August meeting (see: http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/report-on-meetings-with-investigators.html). You will also find our latest press release on the matter here: http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/megrahi-campaigners-respond-to-public.html.
Further to the above, I should inform you all that JFM is currently in the midst of rather delicate discussions with the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP). The text of our initial letter to the IAP Secretary General, Mr Kuipers, is available in its redacted form here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_JusticeCommittee/General%20Documents/20130919_Report_to_IAP.pdf (page 2 to end).