Friday 1 September 2017

Megrahi petition returns to Scottish Parliament Justice Committee

[Justice for Megrahi’s petition features on the agenda for the meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee to be held on Tuesday 5 September 2017 starting at 10.00 in Holyrood Committee Room 2. The following are (a) the committee clerk’s note on this agenda item and (b) Justice for Megrahi’s submission to the committee:]

PE1370: Independent inquiry into the Megrahi conviction

Terms of the petition
PE1370 (lodged 1 November 2010): The petition on behalf of Justice for Megrahi (JFM), calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to open an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

Current consideration
7. At its meeting on 2 May 2017 the Committee agreed, as it had at its meeting on 24 January 2017, to keep the petition open pending completion of Operation Sandwood. This is the operational name for Police Scotland’s investigation into the nine allegations of criminality levelled by Justice for Megrahi at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the police, and forensic officials involved in the investigation and legal processes relating to Megrahi’s conviction. The allegations range from perverting the course of justice to perjury.

8. The clerks understand from Police Scotland that the operation is ongoing and, although in its final stages, there are certain aspects that are not fully concluded. Once Police Scotland’s report is completed, it will be submitted for consideration by an independently appointed Queen’s Counsel appointed by Police Scotland, before going to the Crown Office. Clerks continue to seek updates from Police Scotland as to a likely publication date but Police Scotland is as yet not in a position to suggest when the report will be made public. (The JfM submission indicates that it believes the report will be available to the Crown Office at some stage this year).

9. The petitioners have provided a written submission (Annexe A) requesting the Committee to confirm that the petition will remain open until Crown Office consideration of the police report is complete and any related decisions are made. The submission also states, along similar lines to previous submissions, that the Petitioners continue to have regular meetings with the Operation Sandwood police team and that they have faith in the integrity and completeness of the police inquiry.

10. On 4 July 2017, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) confirmed it had received an application to review the conviction*. The SCCRC may refer a case to the High Court if it believes that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred and that it is in the interests of justice that a reference should be made. The SCCRC stated that it will give careful consideration to this new application, but that it will not make any further comment at this time.

11. The Committee is asked to consider and agree what action it wishes to take in relation to the petition (...), having regard to its decisions in January and in May to keep the petition open pending the completion of Operation Sandwood.

*Mr Megrahi previously applied to the SCCRC in 2003, who referred his case to the High Court for appeal in 2007; however, this appeal was abandoned in 2009. After Mr Megrahi’s death in 2012, a new application was made to the SCCRC on his behalf in 2014, which was rejected in 2015 as the SCCRC had not had access to appeal materials from 2007-09


Annexe A

Letter from Justice for Megrahi
25 August 2017

Justice for Megrahi submission to the Justice Committee of the Scottish
Parliament’s consideration of PE 1370 on 5th September 2017

The position of Justice for Megrahi (JfM) remains largely as was following our last communication with your good selves on the Justice Committee of the ScottishParliament (JC).

We reiterate the value we place on the continued JC scrutiny until Crown Office has considered the Operation Sandwood report and has reported on its findings. JfM's sole interest remains acquiring justice for the victims of Pan Am 103, their families and friends, and those whom we regard as having been wrongly accused and convicted.

As your committee members will understand this report is central to any further
Analysis of the Lockerbie tragedy, is of direct significance to the ongoing SCCRC consideration of the Megrahi family's submission for another appeal and is vital if the massive stain on the Scottish Justice System is ever to be removed.

Moreover, it should be added that JfM and Police Scotland continue to maintain a highly valued and constructive rapport.

In short, JfM has complete confidence in the work of Police Scotland on its behalf regarding JfM's various allegations of criminality associated with the conviction of Mr al Megrahi.

Our present understanding is that the Police Scotland Operation Sandwood Report is in its final stages and will be available to the Lord Advocate at some stage this year.

JfM wishes all members of the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament our very best and looks forward to being represented at your meeting on 5th September, 2017.

1 comment:

  1. At its meeting on 5 September 2017 the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee agreed unanimously that Justice for Megrahi's petition should remain open.