Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Campaign group's anger at pace of progress in Lockerbie investigation

[This is the rather misleading headline over a report in today’s edition of The Herald. It is misleading since the article does not deal at all with JFM's reaction to the letter in question. The report reads as follows:]

Chief Constable Stephen House has expressed regret over delays to an inquiry into police conduct over the Lockerbie investigation.

The Justice for Megrahi campaign claims police covered up evidence that would have helped Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's defence.

The group says the evidence relates to a potential breach of airport security at Heathrow, the unusual composition of a circuit board used to make the bomb and Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci's identification testimony.

Last year, progress on investigating these complaints was promised in weeks, but more than five months later nothing has been done as it would clash with a "live investigation" in Libya on the 1988 atrocity which claimed 270 lives.

Chief Constable Stephen House has written to Holyrood's Justice Committee, saying: "It would be a matter of regret if any officer has communicated an inaccurate expectation of the timescale through which these matters would progress.

"I can assure you that the allegations made by the Justice for Megrahi group are being investigated thoroughly and as expeditiously as possible."

Mr House said Detective Superintendent Stuart Johnstone has been on the case full-time since the retirement of Deputy Chief Constable Patrick Shearer but could not take action until after the conflict with the live investigation had ended. This was estimated to be the end of March, but this could not be guaranteed.

But Christine Grahame, convener of the Justice Committee and a member of Justice for Megrahi, said: "I am very disappointed to learn that not only were we given the wrong date last year, we are now being told that the end of March is not set in stone. This is frankly contemptuous of the Justice Committee."

The committee has asked the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission whether it has received any application for a fresh review from the family of al Megrahi since his death.

[Yesterday’s report on The Scotsman website of the chief constable’s letter and politicians’ reaction to it can be read here, along with the response of Justice for Megrahi’s secretary, Robert Forrester.]


  1. Was DCC Patrick Shearer appointed because he was due early retirement, or was he ordered to take early retirement after making a promise to investigate JfM’s complaints?