Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tactics to reduce chances of being asked difficult questions

What follows is an item posted on this blog on this date in 2008:

Lockerbie Trial is an Historic Miscarriage of Justice

This is the headline over another article by Hugh Miles, this time on The Cutting Edge website. [RB: Links to further articles here.] It reads in part:

'Since the British Crown never had much of a case against Megrahi, it was no surprise when the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) found prima facie evidence in June 2007 that Megrahi had suffered a miscarriage of justice and recommended that he be granted a second appeal.

'For 11 years, while legal proceedings were pending and throughout the trial, the British Government argued that a public inquiry into Lockerbie was not appropriate as it would prejudice legal proceedings. After the conviction, it switched tack, arguing instead that no public inquiry was necessary. But if the conviction were overturned, there would no longer be a reason to hold back. For Megrahi, this cannot come soon enough. In September, he was diagnosed with advanced terminal prostate cancer.

'The British Government is preparing for Megrahi to be transferred to Libya for the rest of his sentence. This would eliminate the risk of an acquittal and lessen the chance of a subsequent inquiry. Applications for a transfer cannot be submitted while an appeal is pending, which for the Government raises the convenient prospect that Megrahi will abandon his appeal so he can die at home. But letting Megrahi die a condemned man reduces the chance of Scottish prosecutors, the police, various British intelligence services plus many American and other foreign bodies being asked a lot of difficult questions. In November 2008, a general agreement on the exchange of prisoners was signed between Libya and Britain paving the way for such a transfer. The agreement will be ratified in January 2009. [RB: Ratification in fact took three months longer than this.]

'"The Crown and the prosecution are using every delaying tactic in the book to close off every route available to Megrahi except prisoner transfer, as this means he has to abandon his appeal," commented Professor Robert Black QC, the Scottish lawyer who was the architect of the original trial who feels partly responsible for the miscarriage that occurred. "It is an absolute disgrace. It was June 27, 2007 when the SCCRC released its report and sent its case back to the criminal appeal court, and here we are 18 months later and the Crown has still not handed over all of the material that the law requires it to hand over and it is still making every objection conceivable."'

The full text can be read here.

1 comment:

  1. Under pressure from the US government, the US/UK government wanted the Scottish government to send Magrahi back to Libya to avoid his appeal being heard! [In practice this meant they wanted the Scottish government to take the wrap for granting a mass-murderer his freedom]

    Thus to avoid being a patsy and retain some dignity MacAskill did a neat side step and made a virtue of a vice by granting Megrahi compassionate release. [Rightly or wrongly, defying US was not considered to be in the national interest]

    And the SNP never really suffered from doing so because most people recognised the Scottish government were acting under duress and that compassionate release was an implicit admission that Megrahi was innocent!