[This is the headline over an item posted yesterday on the website of The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. It reads as follows:]
Lord Advocate and Crown Office would be "judge and jury in own cause"
by Robert Forrester
I am writing as secretary of Justice for Megrahi (JfM), a single purpose group which campaigns for the truth to be revealed about the Lockerbie Pan Am disaster in 1988.
As the 27th anniversary approaches on 21 December, we are contacting as many individuals and organisations as we can who are engaged with and interested in the Scottish justice system, alerting them to a situation which we believe is unparalleled in our legal history and to enlist their support.
In 2012 JfM made nine criminal allegations in connection with the Lockerbie investigation and trial which, if supported, not only throw serious doubt on Mr Megrahi’s conviction but also point to possible malpractice by Crown Office personnel, police and other prosecution witnesses involved in this investigation and trial.
In April 2013 the initial police enquiry was upgraded by Police Scotland when they launched a major criminal investigation codenamed "Operation Sandwood", which will report on our allegations to the Crown Office early next year.
We believe that by their continuing actions the Lord Advocate and Crown Office have totally disqualified themselves from considering this report.
We cite two main reasons:
- Some of the allegations relate to Crown Office personnel and thus they cannot be judge and jury in their own cause.
- The Lord Advocate and Crown Office have already come to a view on these allegations, in that they have publicly described the JfM complainers as "conspiracy theorists", and dismissed the allegations as "defamatory and entirely unfounded… deliberately false and misleading".
These views were first expressed before the police initiated their investigations and subsequently while they were in progress, and were clearly intended to undermine the credibility of the allegations and those who made them.
We would also draw your attention to the repeated public statements by the Lord Advocate and Crown Office that their whole focus is on tracing Mr Megrahi’s accomplices in Libya and elsewhere.
Should the ongoing Operation Sandwood investigations substantiate any of our allegations, then these very authorities will be forced to consider conclusions that they have consistently publicly decried.
It is this very public bias and prejudice evinced by the Crown authorities that convinces us they cannot be allowed to be the final arbiters of the Operation Sandwood report.
Our request for the police report to be considered by a prosecutor totally independent of the Crown has been dismissed by the Lord Advocate.
A plea to the Scottish Government to intervene and ensure an open and accountable consideration of the police report has also been peremptorily dismissed.
If you share our concerns, we would urge you to support our efforts to obtain an independent consideration of the police report by responding with your views to me at email@example.com. If you wish any further information, please contact me.
The best source of information on Lockerbie and JfM’s ongoing campaign can be found on The Lockerbie Case blog run by Professor Bob Black QC, Emeritus Professor of Scots Law, Edinburgh University, at lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk.