Wednesday 25 May 2016

"He cannot have it both ways"

[What follows is excerpted from a report published in today’s edition of The National:

Lockerbie campaigners who believe Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was innocent of the 1988 atrocity have accused former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill of concealing the truth behind the investigation into the bombing.

In a statement, Justice for Megrahi (JfM) said that in his book The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search for Justice, MacAskill had hung out the UK, US and international bodies out to dry for their “hypocrisy” in pursuing their self-interest agenda. But, said JfM: “In reality, it is the Scottish justice system and people like himself and the Crown Office who have facilitated these self-interest agendas by conducting a flawed investigation and trial and by concealing the true facts behind Mr Megrahi’s conviction.”

“Mr MacAskill and the Crown Office stand indicted of frustrating the very search for justice that he proclaims to be pursuing in the title of his book. His refusal to allow a Scottish independent enquiry and his support for the Crown Office, who over the years have attempted to hide the paucity of the prosecution case, only serves to highlight his double standards.”

The group said that time after time, MacAskill and the Scottish Government had stated that the only way justice can be done is through the Scottish courts, yet now he was saying that Scotland was “powerless to interfere in the face of international double dealing”.

“It is clear from the information he now reveals in his book that he holds previously undisclosed evidence which is relevant to JfM’s nine criminal allegations being investigated by Police Scotland. We have reported him to this authority as a vital and compellable witness,” they added.

Professor Robert Black QC said: “MacAskill’s book seeks to paint a very rosy picture of the performance of the Scottish justice system in the Lockerbie case. The investigation, prosecution and trial were apparently all exemplary. In fact, there were grave – and perhaps criminal – flaws in all three.”

Author Dr James Robertson added: “Kenny MacAskill stated repeatedly as Cabinet Secretary for Justice that he did not doubt the safety of the guilty verdict against Megrahi.

“In this book he demolishes key parts of the evidence that secured the verdict, while still maintaining Megrahi was involved. He cannot have it both ways.”

Green MSP John Finnie, his party’s justice spokesperson, said: “Lockerbie was Scotland’s largest mass-murder for which a man, many people believe was innocent of that vile crime, spent long years in prison.

“Citizens, and that includes former cabinet secretaries for justice, are obliged to co-operate in the investigation of crime and I hope that’s exactly what Mr MacAskill will do now there has understandably been a further complaint to Police Scotland.”

[James Robertson appeared last night on BBC Two’s Scotland 2016 talking about Kenny MacAskill’s book. The programme can be viewed here for the next month.]

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