The following was received from Megrahi's solicitors and can now be released.
Strictly embargoed until ,
In response to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission’s decision to refer his case back to the High Court, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi today issued the following statement through his solicitor Tony Kelly:
“I would like to thank the Commission for its thorough and painstaking investigation. I was never in any doubt that a truly independent review of my case would have this outcome.
“I reiterate today what I have been saying since I was first indicted in 1991: I was not involved in the Lockerbie bombing in any way whatsoever. I am confident that when the full picture is put before the ultimate arbiters, the Lords Commissioners of Justiciary, I shall finally be recognised as an innocent man.
“To the relatives of those many people who died on
Mr Kelly added:
“The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission received Mr Al Megrahi’s application in September 2003. Since then its legal officers, Board of Commissioners and Chief Executive have clearly put a great deal of thought, energy and resources into the case.
The Commission has arrived at the view that there may have been a miscarriage of justice in this case on several bases. These are set out in an exhaustive Statement of Reasons that runs to over 800 pages. It is clear that the Commission has not come to its decision lightly: this is a matter of some moment, not only to Mr Al Megrahi, but to the Scottish Criminal Justice System as a whole.
The Commission’s remit is now at an end. The Court of Criminal Appeal will now consider Mr Al Megrahi’s appeal. Only it has the power - as Mr Al Megrahi will invite it to exercise - to quash his conviction.”
Notes for editors:
The team is led by Tony Kelly of Taylor & Kelly Solicitors,
The advocates instructed are:
Margaret Scott QC.
Regarded as one of the most gifted criminal appeal advocates of her generation,
Margaret was called to the Bar in 1991. Among those she has represented
are Kim Galbraith and George McPhee, each of whose
murder convictions were overturned on appeal. She has also conducted
a number of ground-breaking cases which have resulted in significant changes in
the law, such as Thomson v Crowe and
Jamie Gilchrist. He called to the Bar in 1994 having worked as a solicitor in private practice for the previous ten years. An experienced criminal practitioner in trial and appeal courts, he is highly regarded both as a defence counsel and a prosecutor. He is a member of the regulatory crime team at Compass Chambers, specialising in practice areas ranging from health and safety & other regulatory offences to corporate, as well as general, crime. He sits as a part-time Sheriff in courts throughout Scotland.
Martin Richardson. Having spent
his early career as a solicitor in commercial practice, Martin, of Axiom
advocates, was called to the Bar in 2004. While
continuing to specialise in commercial litigation, he has also appeared in a
number of criminal appeals before the High Court of Justiciary, including a
previous referral from the SCCRC. In 2005, he appeared successfully as a
junior for the appellant in Reid v. HMA ((2005) SLT 384), a landmark Human
Rights Act case. He was retained as junior counsel for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed
Al Megrahi in 2006.
July 1998: Following
lobbying by, among others, Nelson Mandela, the
Spring 2002: Edward MacKechnie, who previous represented Mr Fhimah, takes over as Mr. Al Megrahi solicitor. Margaret Scott QC is subsequently instructed to help prepare an application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).
September 2003: The application is submitted to the SCCRC, which runs to over 400 pages and a number of appendices.
February 2005: Mr Al Megrahi is moved from Barlinnie to an open wing of Greenock Prison.
August 2005: Edward MacKechnie stands down as Mr Al Megrahi’s solicitor and is replaced by Tony Kelly of Taylor & Kelly Solicitors of Coatbridge. Margaret Scott QC continues to be retained.
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) is a public body, which was established by an Act of Parliament in April 1999 to review alleged miscarriages of justice. It is funded by the Scottish Executive Justice Department and accountable to the Scottish Parliament, however its work is entirely independent.
During the eight years from its inception, until
39 of the 68 appeal cases had been determined by the High Court by May 31st, of which 25 were successful and 11 unsuccessful (the remaining three were abandoned).
The Commission is based in
Married with 5 children, aged 24 years; 22 years; 15 years; 12 years and 9 years.
2 grandsons aged 2 years and 1 year.
He has been in prison since being handed over for trial in April 1999 (a total of 8 years and two months as at the date of the SCCRC decision).
He was held at Kamp Zeist
In February 2005 he was transferred to an open wing of Greenock Prison.