Tuesday, 18 February 2014

MSPs attack police procrastination on inquiry into original Lockerbie probe

[A report on the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee’s consideration this morning of Justice for Megrahi’s petition PE1370 has been published on The Scotsman website. It reads as follows:]

Politicians have launched a scathing attack on Police Scotland’s inquiry into alleged criminality in the original Lockerbie bombing investigation.

The Scottish Parliament’s justice committee has said it will write to Chief Constable Sir Stephen House demanding answers, after accusing the force of “procrastinating and obfuscation” and attempting to “kick into the long grass” concerns about the conviction of Abdelbaset al Megrahi.

Christine Grahame MSP, committee convener, said she will also write to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to see if Megrahi’s family have asked for a new appeal.

The campaign group Justice For Megrahi (JFM) has called for a Scottish Government inquiry and alleged criminal wrongdoing by police in the original investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103, in December 1988, which killed 270 people.

John Finnie, an independent MSP and former police officer, said: “The Scottish Government has no plans to launch an inquiry - I find that unfortunate.

“These are allegations of criminality in a mass murder case.”

The committee had been handed a letter from senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Johnston, written to JFM, which was not able to say how many officers were working on this inquiry, or what stage it was at.

“I think this is a dismissive approach by an authority to JFM, and by definition to this committee.

“What we have seen is procrastination and obfuscation. I can’t see the Crown Office injecting any sense of urgency.”

The original petition had called for an inquiry into the conviction, but the SNP Scottish Government has made clear the only place it should be examined is in the courts.

Ms Grahame, an SNP MSP, said some form of action was now needed.

“You talk about obfuscation and procrastination, I call it kicking it into the long grass,” she told Mr Finnie.

“It seems to me to be extraordinary in regards to the question how many officers are working on the inquiry, that (the letter states) I’m unable to provide you with definitive updates as it’s being reviewed by myself.

“How long does it take to work out how many officers are working on it and what stage it is at?

“I think we should write to the chief constable to ask him and require an answer within 10 days.” 

[A further report in the same newspaper can be read here. A report published on The Herald website reads in part:]

A Holyrood committee has rejected a call to close a petition demanding an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bomber's conviction.

Instead MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee are hoping to find out if moves have been made that could lead to a further appeal on behalf of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

The committee is to contact the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) - an independent body which investigates where there are concerns about a possible miscarriage of justice.

Sir Stephen House, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, will also be written to, as MSPs are worried allegations about the original Lockerbie investigation are being sidelined.

The Justice for Megrahi campaign, which put forward the petition calling for an independent investigation into the Libyan's conviction, has also made allegations of "criminality during the investigation of the Lockerbie disaster".

Detective Superintendent Stuart Johnstone has written to the group's secretary, Robert Forrester, saying a "conflict" with the live investigation into the case remains "unresolved".

Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell said these matters took the committee "off at a tangent" from the petition's original call for an inquiry in Megrahi's conviction.

She said: "We could close the petition today because the Scottish Government has said quite categorically it has no plans for a review.

"I would be inclined to close it today because we're going off at a tangent."

The committee rejected that, with independent MSP John Finnie saying such a move would be "inappropriate" when there was an "ongoing live criminal inquiry".

MSPs will write to the SCCRC to find out if it has been approached to review the case.

Committee convener Christine Grahame said they would be seeking to discover if "any application or inquiry has been made, an application by any member of the Megrahi family or anyone with an interest" to the SCCRC - which reviews cases before deciding whether or not to refer them on to the courts.

Ms Grahame added she was "very cross" with the lack of information regarding any investigation into Justice for Megrahi's allegations of criminality in the original Lockerbie investigation.

Mr Finnie said these were "allegations of serious criminality in what was a mass murder case", as he accused the authorities of "procrastination and obstruction" .

Ms Grahame said: "You call it procrastination and obstruction, I call it long grass. If there's any strategy here with regard to the Megrahi issue it seems to be to kick things into the long grass, wear people out, hope those who are pursuing this fall off their perches and it all goes away."

She said MSPs had been told by the police in September it would be "a matter of weeks" before they "would be able to confirm the investigation had fully commenced", but were still no further forward.

Ms Grahame hit out: "This is nonsense. I just think this is contemptuous of the committee. We are being told weeks, then it becomes months. Not good enough.

"I am concerned that if the Justice Committee is being treated in this rather off-hand fashion, goodness knows what is happening elsewhere."

She said: "I think we should be writing directly to the Chief Constable and asking him how many people are currently working on the inquiry and what the position is with regard to another inquiry. I think it's time we went to the top of the tree."


  1. Wrongful Convictions Blog http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/

  2. MISSION LIFE WITH LOCKERBIE, 2013 (google translation, german/english):

    In detail - we see - it is a clear procrastination and obfuscation in the investigation around the evidences inter alia over the crucial manipulated MST-13 timer fragment (PT-35).

    Mebo guarantees the real "PT-35" fragment consists of 8 layers of fiberglass and thus does not come from a MST-13 timer supplied to Libya (fabricated with 9 layers of fiberglass) !

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. Webpage: www.lockerbie.ch

  3. NOW >>> the film will be broadcast at 22:00 (CET) by 'ARTE' TV !
    Death flight Pan Am 103: "The mystery of Lockerbie"
    repeated on Friday, 21. 02. at 10:15 (CET) clock.

    Now: Film Trailer / on Link:

  4. Death flight Pan Am 103: "The mystery of Lockerbie" on ARTE TV,
    in German language - on link:


    Film diffusé sur ARTE+7 TV
    Attentat de Lockerbie : la piste inexplorée.
    En français - du lien: