Friday, 7 July 2017

Justice delayed

This blog is ten years old today. The two items published on 7 July 2007 can be read here and here. They have stood the test of time rather well, I think.

[What follows is the text of a report published in the Evening Standard on this date in 2009:]

The cancer-stricken Lockerbie bomber could die before a decision is made on his appeal after new delays in the case, his lawyer warned today.

It was revealed that one of the judges hearing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi's long-running appeal against conviction has had heart surgery.
Scotland's top judge, the Lord Justice General Lord Hamilton, told the High Court in Edinburgh that Lord Wheatley's recuperation may be "protracted" and it is thought he will not be fit to resume judicial duties until mid-September.
Lord Hamilton said the situation "complicates matters".
The court has already heard full submissions on two grounds of appeal, but the court will not now be able to give its decision on those grounds until the autumn.
Al Megrahi's QC, Margaret Scott, expressed dismay at the situation, but acknowledged it arose out of "unforeseen and unexpected" circumstances.
She told the court the defence wished to see a decision reached as soon as possible.
"My Lord will appreciate in this court justice delayed is justice denied," she said.
"There is a very real risk my client will die before this appeal is adjudicated."
She added that it was difficult to conceive of "more pressing circumstances".
Al Megrahi was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.
Ms Scott told the court that her client's health was deteriorating and he was experiencing a "relentless onset of symptoms".
[RB: I published the following comment two days later:]
While the illness of one of the judges would inevitably cause a measure of delay, the Appeal Court's clear failure to take effective steps to minimise that delay is nothing short of disgraceful. Their Lordships should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, dear Robert, with the 10 year anniversary.
    Of course, it shouldn't have been. Megrahi should long have been officially exhonerated.

    But the real acquittal, through the work of JfM and friends, has long been accomplished.

    And the real trial is far from over, the accused are just replaced with others.

    It is no longer about who placed the bomb, but the defendents are the people accused of deliberately distorting procedures, evidence and its interpretation.

    They can hide behind inaction and indifference and a judicial structure, granted the final powers to decide or obstruct decicions, even when related to their own wrongdoings.

    But even so, they are facing overwhelming evidence, and will have to live with the shame.