Saturday, 13 September 2014

The disgrace that is the Lockerbie prosecution

[The following is an excerpt from a letter by Neil McPherson published in today's edition of The Herald:]

The Scottish legal system, which I was brought up to believe was something to be proud of and the envy of the world, is being dismantled. The cornerstone of that system is corroboration, a concept which virtually all the leading authorities, and the judiciary considered a crucial element within our (now loosely termed) common law system.
With the disgrace that is the Lockerbie prosecution already secured for history, our First Minister was furious that the Cadder decision (by the Supreme Court, to rule that suspects be offered legal advice prior to and during interview become part of Scots law). His reaction was to secure the opinion of one of the few members of the judiciary who did not believe that corroboration was a necessary safeguard to minimise miscarriages of justice and to ensure fairness, and the Lord Justice Clerk provided the First Minister with the findings he hoped for.
Scotland today is being told that a vote for independence will lead to a fairer society. The evidence so far is that those advocating this change have produced and continue to produce a legal system where fairness plays no part and where right-wing ideology rules supreme.
[It should be pointed out that “the disgrace that is the Lockerbie prosecution” was perpetrated under a Labour-Liberal Democrat Scottish administration, both of which parties are campaigning against independence for Scotland.]


  1. The last sentence of this letter is astonishing. The writer appears to be unaware that proportional representation has been introduced in Scotland and that post independence we will continue to have a choice of government. By contrast it looks likely that if Scotland votes no she will continue to be ruled by right wing parties almost none of us vote for under the FPTP system. Present indications from Westminster suggest that human rights are not exactly safe from the attentions of Mrs May.

  2. The letter is pure electioneering. Though mind you, I've heard similar closer to home.

    In what version of reality is the best way to deal with the problems in our criminal justice system to refuse to take the power to deal with them into our own hands?

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with the comments made regarding what is happening to, an has already been legislated for (the abolition of the prohibition on double jeopardy and Section 7 of Cadder for example). MacAskill has for far too long been in charge of our criminal justice system, and, it is plain that there is a most unhealthy relationship with COPFS/Chambers Street and the Justice Directorate. He should be dismissed immediately and Frank Mulholland with him.

    Insofar as any connection with the independence debate goes, the SNP/Salmond etc (despite my differences of opinion over Lockerbie/Ziest go) have my full support.

    I see no connection whatsoever between the way Scotland runs its justice system and the referendum. In my opinion, the creed of so called civilised western 'democracy' is a feudal relic and ought to be consigned to the dust bin anyway.

    For those who wish to vote NO might I suggest that before doing so, they cast their eyes over The Barnett Formula.


  4. Or the McCrone Report....

  5. Dear Rolfe,

    Spot on, forgot about that one.


  6. No political party is untainted by Lockerbie/Zeist. They should all hang their heads in shame except the few individuals MPs/MSPs that have spoken out against this shameful episode.

  7. Dear Chaps and Chapesses,

    Lest we forget a man whom I had my considerable differences of opinion with. In fact, there were times when could quite happily have stood up and taken a swing at him, TV cameras or not: the late David McLetchie. During one of his last performances at the Justice Committee, he was instrumental in the continuing survival of JFM's petition for an inquiry into Lockerbie/Ziest: PE1370 before the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament.

    Along with the splendidly heroic contributions from John Finnie MSP and others, there has been cross-party unanimous support for 1370. Long may it continue.

    You are, of course, quite right to point out that this affair ultimately boils down to a question of personal conscience. Some considerable reputations depend on the outcome.