Thursday, 15 March 2012

Crown's actions in Megrahi case face scrutiny

[This is the headline over an article in today’s edition of The Herald by Group Political Editor Brian Currie. It reads in part:]

The Crown Office's handling of the prosecution of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is to be raised in the Scottish Parliament.
And the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland has been asked to initiate inquiries into allegations the Crown failed to disclose substantive evidence to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's defence team.
Both moves were instigated by Christine Grahame, an SNP MSP and member of the Justice for Megrahi campaign.
She warned: "While there is a suspicion the Crown Office has not behaved with propriety, this cannot be good for the Scottish justice system."
Ms Grahame, who is convener of Holyrood's Justice Committee, said the Scottish Government did not have the power to institute a far-reaching public inquiry – which would require evidence from former prime ministers, the FBI and others.
But it could, under the 2005 Inquiries Act, hold one into matters which were wholly devolved and the Crown Office would be subject to that.
As revealed in The Herald this week, there is material within the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) report into Megrahi's conviction for the atrocity, in which 270 people died, to suggest he may have suffered a miscarriage of justice on six different grounds.
Ms Grahame said yesterday: "The Scottish Government already has the power to inquire into the activities and the actions of the Crown Office -and the allegations that evidence that should have been disclosed was not disclosed." (…)
Tory justice spokesman David McLetchie said an appeal by Megrahi would "have the merit of allowing the case to be determined in a Scottish court of law". But he added if there was no such appeal then there had to be a judicial public inquiry. [RB: Now there’s a surprise: support for an inquiry from David McLetchie! I suppose it demonstrates that even Scottish Conservatives can feel which way the wind is blowing if there’s a strong enough gale.]
Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: "What The Herald's investigation has exposed is that a number of questions remain unanswered. However, it is our view these matters are best settled in Scotland's court of law – not a public inquiry."
Patrick Harvie, of the Scottish Green Party, said: "There have long been doubts about Mr Megrahi's conviction and the best way to establish the truth is to hold a public inquiry."
A Scottish Government spokesman said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill had not seen the SCCRC report as "this would be inappropriate".
Mr MacAskill has written to UK Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke asking for an exemption under data protection laws to allow the SCCRC document to be made public. But a spokesman for Mr Clarke said last night that any decision on disclosure was for the SCCRC. [RB: As a post on this blog earlier this week pointed out,  "Clarke – or any other member of the coalition – cannot give the Scottish Government an exception from the DPA, because no such power exists."]

[Christine Grahame has tabled a written question which reads as follows:]

Question S4W-06179: Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/03/2012
To ask the Scottish Executive, in light of recent allegations that the Crown Office did not act with propriety in the disclosure of evidence to the defence team in the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, whether the Scottish Government (a) has the power under the Inquiries Act 2005 to establish an inquiry into the actions of the Crown Office and (b) can refer the matter to the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 29/03/2012

[At First Minister's questions today the following question was asked and answered:]

  • Christine Grahame (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP): There have been allegations in the recent Megrahi biography and in the press regarding the Crown’s actions throughout the prosecution appeal process. Is it possible, through the Inquiries Act 2005, to instruct an independent examination of those allegations, and might that fall within the remit of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland?
  • The First Minister: The appropriate body for declaring guilt or innocence is, of course, a court of law, but I think that the recent media coverage indicates that it is absolutely imperative that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission be given the powers that it needs to release the full statement of reasons in this case. I obviously welcome disclosure: we are trying to get disclosure of the full SCCRC report, which is imperative. I do not think that partial disclosure, especially when it is done selectively, is assisting the debate. I cannot see any possible reason for there being obstacles in the way of full disclosure and publication of the complete SCCRC report. I hope that the chamber will unite to ensure, as far as is possible within our powers, that that happens.


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2012 (google translation, german/english):

    The Scottish Parliament must prepare himself for Al Megrahi's inevitable Miscarriage of Justice on six grounds of referral by the SCCRC -- and the massive damage compensation payments from United Kingdom for the Libyan people (now NTC), a minimum amount of US.$ 40 billions, a reputation payment to Meister & Bollier (MEBO Ltd) Switzerland of US.$ 53.25 million and for the responsibility of the Scottish Justiciary, US.$ 2.7 billion, for Saif's "Gadhafi Foundation of Charitable Associations (GIFCA) at Geneva Switzerland. Mr. Saif Gadhafi’s Foundation had paid the "Victims Compensation" after the Lockerbie-Tragedy...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  2. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2012, (google translation, german/english):

    The time has come-- the Scottish Parliament must prepare for Al Megrahi's Miscarriage of Justice on six grounds of referral by the SCCRC...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  3. The Labour position is a joke! They can go on about "courts of law" until we are blue in the face. The point is we still don't know what pressures were brought to bear to stop the appeal reaching a court of law. This dodge of theirs is as good as upholding a corrupt justice system and it simply isn't good enough.

    Last night John Ashton said (when he appeared at the "Aye Write" book festival event in Glasgow) that while politicians have managed to dodge the fallout from the case for so long their time is running out because the weight of evidence now is so astonishing. Let's hope so. And let's keep letting our MSPs know what WE think about it.