Wednesday, 16 March 2016

"Impossible for any decision of Lord Advocate arising out of allegations to be seen to be impartial, objective or unbiased"

[What follows is the text of a press release issued by Justice for Megrahi in connection with today’s media conference:]

Top legal experts Brian McConnachie QC and Alan Page, Professor of Public Law at the University of Dundee, have joined MSPs Patrick Harvie and John Finnie in expressing their concern that the Lord Advocate and Crown Office should play any part in the consideration of a report from Police Scotland on their three-year investigation into nine criminal allegations against Crown Office, police and prosecution witnesses involved in the original Lockerbie investigation and trial.

They will join conference Chairperson solicitor Len Murray and other prominent commentators at the above media conference in Edinburgh to express that concern and recommend these authorities step back and allow a totally independent prosecutor, possibly from another legal jurisdiction, to consider what action if any should be taken on the police report.

Their concerns come at a time when a growing band of analysts consider that the Lord Advocate and Crown Office, by consistently exhibiting bias and prejudice towards the allegations and the police investigation, have disqualified themselves from considering the report.

Brian McConnachie QC states: “Having declared the allegations to be defamatory, unfounded, false and misleading, it is in my opinion impossible for any decision of the Lord Advocate arising out of the allegations to be seen to be impartial, objective or unbiased.”

Professor Page states: “Public confidence in the administration of criminal justice requires there to be no doubt that decisions whether or not to institute criminal proceedings are taken free from political or any other form of bias.”

Patrick Harvie MSP states: “While the Lord Advocate rightly enjoys independence and freedom from political influence when considering police reports into criminal acts, that consideration must be seen to be truly independent and not coloured by any bias or prejudice whatsoever.”

John Finnie MSP states: “Parliament has a part to play in ensuring that the Lord Advocate and Crown Office administer their roles without bias and prejudice. Independence does not mean being unaccountable and parliament has a duty to ensure that the public interest is being served at all times.”

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