Friday, 27 May 2016

Lockerbie documents security plea

[This is the headline over a report published on the BBC News website on this date in 2008. It reads as follows:]

A plea has been made to Lockerbie bombing appeal judges to hold a hearing to discuss a confidential document behind closed doors.

The Advocate General has suggested a security-vetted advocate could represent Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi in place of his usual legal team.

The UK Government claims releasing the document would harm national security.

However, Al Megrahi's lawyers have said it could assist his appeal against his conviction for the 1988 atrocity.

The Advocate General - who represents the UK Government - has lodged a public interest immunity plea to keep the document secret.

A three-day procedural hearing at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh is now meeting to decide how to address the issue.

The court previously heard Foreign Secretary David Miliband had signed the public interest immunity certificate.

Judges were told he believes releasing the secret document would cause "real harm" to the national interest.

Advocate General Lord Davidson QC told the court there should be a public interest immunity hearing, and he suggested judges should have access to the document in advance of that hearing.

He said a special representative, if appointed, would be able to represent Al Megrahi's interests.

The Libyan's defence team have not yet given their views in the hearing but Lord Davidson said it appeared that they contest the use of a special representative in this case.

Al Megrahi was not present at the hearing in Edinburgh.

[RB: This is the document referred to in Kenny MacAskill’s book and in respect of which it has been suggested that Mr MacAskill may have contravened the Official Secrets Act.]


  1. If I remember correctly, they did get to the stage of appointing a "special representative" but I don't remember the identity of that person ever being disclosed in the public domain. The situation would be funny if it weren't so utterly disgusting - Maggie Scott QC, who then rightly commanded universal respect and admiration in my former profession and who has since been appointed a judge, not being trusted to behave professionally. Why in the name were the UK Government behaving like this? I think we know the answer.

    1. The "special advocate" appointed was my former student Valerie Stacey QC, now Lady Stacey. Here's her Wikipedia entry:,_Lady_Stacey