Tuesday 4 October 2022

RIP Justice for Megrahi stalwart Ian Hamilton KC

I am saddened to learn of the death at the age of 97 of Ian Hamilton KC. He was a longtime stalwart supporter of the Justice for Megrahi campaign. Here are a few of the comments from him that have previously featured on this blog.

"I don't think there's a lawyer in Scotland who now believes Mr Megrahi was justly convicted. The Americans were out for vengeance. Anyone with a darker skin would do. With their barrowloads of money to buy witnesses, aided by our police and prosecution, they hoodwinked our courts."

”When the minister for Justice shares a bed with the Lord Advocate the freedom of us all is in jeopardy… Many of us believe there are prosecutions which are politically driven. Mr Megrahi was one of them.”

"Never in the history of Scots law has the crown adduced witnesses who have been paid, or promised payment, by a third party in connection with their evidence. Why were they adduced in this case? The Lord Advocate must explain why. (...) Purchase of witnesses has no place in Scots law. Indeed payment by the Americans of witnesses in the Megrahi case is one of the things that make many people think the conviction is unsafe."

"I think you [JFM] are doing a splendid job in exposing what is a running sore in the body politic of Scotland. The Lord Advocate must be seen to be independent of the government whom it is his duty to prosecute should it traverse any law. Parliament makes the law; not the government and the latter is bound by the law like the rest of us. Neither the Justice Minister nor the Lord Advocate have proved themselves fit to hold office and the sooner this is referred to the international body the better."

“The whole case against Megrahi was soured and poisoned from the very beginning by the CIA. They wanted a conviction at any cost to satisfy the understandable desire of the victims, many of whom were American citizens, for vengeance. I’m afraid Dumfries and Galloway Police and the Scottish Crown Office caved into this desire. It seems to me that this prosecution was conducted with a desire to get a conviction at all costs, even at the cost of justice itself. This has gone on too long and is a blot on Scotland’s reputation for fair trials.”

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