Thursday, 31 March 2016

Lord Advocate should issue pledge over report into Lockerbie allegations

[This is the headline over a letter from Iain McKie published in today’s edition of The Herald. It reads as follows:]

David Leask's glowing appreciation of Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland ("The Lord Advocate 'for all' has stayed true to beliefs", The Herald, March 26) rightly highlights his achievements in this high office once described by Lord McCluskey as Scotland's "watchdog for justice".
I have very positive memories of meeting him in the Crown Office when he graciously apologised to my daughter Shirley following the fingerprint fiasco. I felt that he was someone who listened, reflected and acted with integrity.
Since then however some have accused him of poor judgment in his response to the Andrew Coulson and bin lorry inquiries.
Perhaps more seminally, however,what will history make of a Lord Advocate who has joined the Scottish justice system in its 27 years of collective denial over the Lockerbie Pan Am tragedy which remains an abiding and indelible stain on that system?
How will history judge Scotland’s senior law officer who in 2012 allowed the Crown Office to label those who, in good faith, made nine criminal allegations against that authority and other prosecution witness involved in the investigation and subsequent trail of Abedelbaset al Megrahi as "conspiracy theorists" and the allegations themselves as "defamatory, unfounded, false and misleading"?
As we await the police report on these allegations being submitted to the Crown Office will Mr Mulholland take this opportunity to state publicly that this unprecedented bias and prejudice will not be allowed to influence any decisions that might be made on whether prosecutions should or should not follow?
Can he guarantee to the Scottish people that when the Police Scotland report is submitted neither he nor anyone associated with the Crown Office will have anything to do with the final decision whether to prosecute or not and that any such decisions made by any independent authority will not be open to be changed by the crown?
Should Mr Mulholland fail to make this undertaking then I suspect, in respect of Lockerbie at least, that history will judge him less than kindly and conclude that as Scotland’s "watchdog for justice" he has failed.


  1. Absolutely splendid letter. Highly pertinent and covers all the bases. So many have yet to comprehend the gravity of the issues that lie at the heart of the conflict between the Crown Office and JFM. These indelible question marks raised by JFM hold serious implications for the Scottish criminal justice system in its entirety and must be addressed with urgency if our justice system is ever to salvage any degree of respect from its public.

    1. I have to disagree to some extent. Everyone seems to be fixated on the possibility of criminal charges being recommended. But what if they aren't? What if the final Sandwood report says, in effect, well there was some pretty rank incompetence and maybe some dodgy decisions, but none of it really clears the bar for a 50% chance of a criminal convction? What then?

      Do we all just say, oh well that's that, then? What about the highly probable event of the Sandwood report declaring that the bomb was in the case Bedford saw, that PT/35b was never part of one of the timers sold to Libya, and that Megrahi wasn't the man who bought the clothes from Tony Gauci? Do we just let them bury that without publication, just because they decided it was all adequately explained by stupidity, and stupidity isn't a criminal offence?

  2. Everybody is somebody even when they are nobody. In strict keeping with my initial thoughts: JFM constitute the 'nobodies', who, following some eight years of consistent and persistent slog, have established themselves to be sufficient 'somebodies' to force the Lord Advocate and other COPFS apparatchiks to journey, on numerous occasions no less, to Libya and the US in an attempt to capture the media upper hand by pursuing a total myth as a blind for the Scottish public. I refer, of course, the Crown Office's crusade to locate an innocent man's accomplices in something that never took place in accordance with the bedtime story that emanates from Edinburgh. In these COPFS/Lord Advocate efforts to get the media onside, they/he have/has thus far achieved naught, with, naturally enough, the exception of Mr Magnus Linklater. In actuality, not only has COPFS failed in its efforts, the Lord Advocate has single headedly achieved quite the opposite through his outrageously misguided outbursts concerning JFM's nine allegations and Operation Sandwood. We hope and pray that whoever is appointed to this unelected and unaccountable (except unto Westminster) post following Mr Frank Mulholland QC's departure will be an individual of considerably wider experience than that which is on offer within the walls of Chambers Street. If ever the Crown Office needed a breath of fresh air and comprehensive internal restructuring, it is now. Watch this space on the sixth of May. If a further insider is promoted to the position of Lord Advocate from within COPFS post election, we can only expect normal service to be resumed and our elected representatives will be tarred by the same brush, namely, that of a Crown Agent and COPFS employed by Westminster not Holyrood, who owe allegiance to London only and are supported by Bute House and the Scottish Government.

  3. Lets hope you get a reply from the Lord Advocate because when I last wrote to him when he was a Depute Principal alleging malfeasance within the Crown Office he failed to reply.