Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Fight goes on for Justice for Megrahi campaign as MSPs keep petition open

[This is the headline over a report just published on the website of The Herald newspaper. It reads as follows:]

Campaigners who believe Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted for the Lockerbie bombing have said they will continue to fight for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to re-examine the case.

Members of the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, including Dr Jim Swire whose daughter Flora was among 270 victims of the 1988 atrocity, attended Holyrood today to see their petition to the Scottish Parliament discussed by MSPs on the Justice Committee.

Members of the committee opted to keep to petition open, pending the outcome of Operation Sandwood, Police Scotland's investigation of nine accusations of criminality levelled by the group at Crown, police and forensic officials who worked on the case. Allegations including perversion of the course of justice and perjury. It is hoped that the investigation and Police Scotland report will be finalised by the end of the year.

Members of the Megrahi family are also yet to lodge a formal appeal against his the conviction, with efforts constrained by the turmoil in Libya. Following the hearing, Dr Swire said he had been in touch with the Megrahi family and efforts to submit the paperwork were ongoing.

The group is pushing for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to assess the Police Scotland report, and is not satisfied with the suggestion from the Lord Advocate that a Crown Counsel who has not been involved in the Lockerbie case would deal with this matter if necessary.

It believes that they have effectively been labelled conspiracy theorists by the Crown Office, giving them no confidence that the police report will be looked at fairly.

In a submission to the Justice Committee ahead of the meeting, the group said: "JFM objects in the strongest possible terms to the Lord Advocate's proposal... Over past years a number of serious questions have been raised about the office of the Lord Advocate, the Crown Office and the Scottish Justice System in general. The collapse of the Andy Coulson trial, the hasty decision to take no proceedings in relation to the Bin Lorry accident are but two examples.

"This latest attempt by the Lord Advocate not to surrender his control, despite irrefutable evidence that he should, only serves to provide further focus to these concerns and throw serious doubt on the Crowns internal decision making processes."

Following the hearing, James Robertson, of the campaign group, said: "The petition has been maintained, which we're very happy about, because there are still ongoing issues to be addressed. They've held the petition open for the right reasons."

Recent correspondence had been submitted surrounding the case, regarding questions the campaign group would like to the Justice Committee to ask the Lord Advocate on its behalf.

The convenor of the Justice Committee and member of the Justice for Megrahi campaign, Christine Grahame, said that she would seek permission from the Lord Advocate to release the correspondence into the public domain.

[A draft of the Official Report of the Justice Committee’s discussion of the petition can be read here.

Interestingly, the Scottish Police Federation has provided a link to The Herald article on its website.]

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone really believe that Police Scotland are capable of carrying out any investigation into their own conduct?