Thursday, 26 May 2016

Secretary of State for Scotland rules out foreign trial over Lockerbie

[What follows is the text of a report published in The Herald on this date in 1994:]

Scottish Secretary Ian Lang yesterday rejected a plea by Tory MP Sir
Teddy Taylor for the law to be changed to enable two Libyans suspected
of carrying out the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to be tried abroad.

Sir Teddy (Southend East -- Con) said leading and respected Scottish
advocates had stated clearly and publicly that a fair trial before a
Scottish jury was simply not possible because of recent press coverage.
He added that the Libyan Government had said it willingly would send
the two accused to any other country.

Sir Teddy urged: ''In fairness to the relatives of the victims of this
appalling disaster, it would be better for the Government to consider
legislation, for example for a trial in The Hague, so the truth on this
dreadful issue could at last come forward, rather than the present
situation where nothing is happening for years.''

Mr Lang replied: ''But the investigation took place under Scots law
and the charges are being brought on that basis.''

He insisted there was no evidence to support the contention the Libyan
Government would be any more amenable to holding a trial in any other
country, even if that were possible, ''which would be extremely
difficult in the circumstances''.

Mr Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow -- Lab) claimed the Lord Advocate had not
taken account of all the evidence in the case, and accused the Crown
Office of being ''a bit lazy''.

Mr Lang retorted: ''You persist in setting yourself up as some kind of
amateur sleuth in this matter.''

He pressed Mr Dalyell to support the Lord Advocate and the Government
''in seeking to enable this trial to take place''.

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