Sunday 1 September 2013

Probe into Lockerbie shelved by the Crown

[This is the headline over a report by Greg Christison published today in the Scottish edition of the Sunday Express. It does not feature on the newspaper's website. It reads in part:]

A probe into the Lockerbie bombing investigation has been curbed by the Crown Office, the Sunday Express can reveal.

In a highly contentious move, prosecutors have ordered three of eight allegations -- which accuse Crown Office officials and police officers of wrongdoing -- to be shelved.

Campaign group Justice for Megrahi (JFM) -- which brought the claims -- yesterday branded the development "very disappointing".  The organisation believes the authorities deliberately misled judges in 2000 in a bid to "frame" Libyans Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Fhimah.

JFM initially called on Kenny MacAskill to launch an independent probe into its cocerns.

But shockingly, the Justice Secretary just told the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Police officers to investigate themselves instead.  It is now understood that Police Scotland's Deputy Chief Constable Patrick Shearer -- who is heading the probe -- has been told not to investigate any complaints specifically relating to a timer fragment found at the scene.

JFM claims the firm which was found to have manufactured the timer did not have the capability to create that type of circuit board.

The campaigners accuse Dumfries and Galloway Police of failing to investigate this properly and say critical evidence was not disclosed at trial.

The group's secretary, Robert Forrester, said: "Patrick Shearer contacted the Crown Office and they established conflict between allegations five, six and seven [involving the timer] and their separate investigation which is trying to implicate other Libyans

"It is very disappointing indeed, and it remains to be seen if the allegations will be revisited in future.

"This absolutely supports our demands for an independent inquiry."

JFM believes that vital evidence suggesting that the bomb was planted at Heathrow Airport rather than in Malta -- as was found by the court --was intentionally overlooked.

Backed by evidence from a "wide variety of sources", JFM also claims that prosecutors passed on false information to the court and key statements were deliberately "buried".

Prominent Scots lawyers Ian Hamilton and Robert Black support the claims and insist an independent inquiry must be held into the Lockerbie case.

Megrahi, who died last year, is the only man ever convicted of the bombing (...)  Fhimah was acquitted.

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 Crown Office spokesman failed to confirm or deny the allegations.

Police Scotland refused to respond to a request for comment.

[Justice for Megrahi's own comments on this matter can be found here and here.]

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