Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Justice for Megrahi secretary's report on Justice Committee meeting

[What follows is a message sent out today by Justice for Megrahi’s secretary, Robert Forrester, to JFM members and supporters:]

Some may well feel frustrated by what might seem to be a lack of progress regarding PE1370, however, bear in mind that it remains open with unanimous cross-party support. It took a matter of seconds, with no discussion or questioning from members of the Justice Committee to deal with our submission and supplement.

JFM has only been in existence for some six years, Others have been slogging away at this for twenty-five years.

I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to keep 1370 on the table before Holyrood's Justice Committee. It is a device which produces results. I may have differences of opinion with some; nevertheless, a man whom I regarded as a foe, David McLetchie MSP, came up trumps in the end and made a difference. That, I respect, as I do other brave supporters of the redemption of the Scottish criminal justice system on the JC.

I must formally say that I apologise for any embarrassment caused by my  spontaneous 'clapping' at the end of the brief hearing. The convener, quite rightfully, reprimanded me. Having said that though, I, in my defence, would like to say that I was applauding all members of the JC, not clapping.

This is going to take time. It's politics. But we are moving in the right direction.

[Robert clearly allowed his well-known enthusiasm to get the better of parliamentary decorum. However, he copied the above message to the Justice Committee clerk and received a response which included this:]

I was about to email you with formal notification that the Committee agreed to monitor the progress being made between JFM and Police Scotland and to consider the petition again at a future meeting.
Apologies that we didn’t have time to chat yesterday. As you saw, the Convener was keen to get through business as timeously as possible.
Regarding your very kind message, I shall show it to the Convener tomorrow and we shall endeavour to convey it to members as well. I can assure you that no embarrassment was caused!
We will be in touch, and every good wish.


  1. Dear Robert F.

    Congratulations for the good news that the petition stands, as strong as ever.

    "Lack of progress regarding PE1370", well, nobody expected it would, or will ever, be smooth to make a system clean up itself.
    The more the need, the less likely to happen.

    But it is of course not in itself what it is all about.

    JfMs never-failing dedication ensures continued progress in the matter that really counts, 'the mission': that more and more people learn that the conviction of Megrahi and following key events were a serious (and, by some people, deliberate) miscarriage of justice.

    This increased spread of this knowledge is what essentially will have been important to Megrahi and now is to his family.

    Not in itself the formal overturn by a system that has shown its complete contempt for the truth.

    Of course such an overturn (whether formal or indirect, e.g as a result of an inquiry) would be of tremendous value for The Mission.

    Independently, the progress is there, and tremendously so.

    I just typed 'Lockerbie' in Google. The vast majority of results on the returned pages I looked at linked to texts containing information about the problem with the verdict.

    Well, when I googled 'Lockerbie' first time many years ago I don't recall anything like this.
    I had to search more, and much more targeted to find out what somebody had mentioned somewhere, that what we all knew about The Lockerbie Bomber was not simple or certain at all.

    Now, you can hardly get in any further contact with the case without knowing something is very wrong.

    Compared to this progress, the fall of PE1370 would have been a drop in the ocean.

    Let me, in your spirit, stand up and applaud JfM for its huge success...

    ... done. Nobody around to reprimand me, but I wouldn't have cared much anyway.

    Frank, Bangkok

  2. Dear Frank,

    Thank you most kindly for your words of support. This sort of thing is remarkably important to us in galvanising the spirit.

    In my opinion, naive and misguided though I may be, 1370 will still climb up the ladder of the Justice Committee's most aged petitions. Hopefully, we aren't ensconced in wooden overcoats by the time we reach 'Top of the Pops'!

    My own personal concerns are evident in our supplement delivered on the Thursday prior to the Tuesday hearing. Namely, the fig-leave provided by the Justice Directorate in its so called 'emergency legislation' pounded through parliament the very day following our formal launch of 1370 in Holyrood itself ('Cadder', section 7 - relating to the new powers provided to the judiciary on appeals over our professional and independent arbiter on such matters which effectively renders the SCCRC impotent for no justifiable reason whatsoever given their excellent track record).

    The second point is that despite the very welcome intervention of Sir Stephen House that has now resulted in a full and frank exchange of opinion between JFM and Police Scotland, and a major criminal enquiry being established, run by senior officers, into all 9 of our allegations, we will not be privy to operational procedures or a final police report. This, I fully respect and understand the logic of. Nevertheless, what the police ultimately submit will go to Chambers Street. I am sure you are quite aware of the confidence and trust I have in that particular institution.

    Thanks again,