From the HERALD (Glasgow): for interest I have included some of the on-line comments, this bunch is pretty typical for this source, and suggests that we are far from isolated in our beliefs, at least North of the border.
LOCKERBIE: Appeal team demands secret files
The Libyan secret service agent serving life for the Lockerbie bombing has been given until December 21 to explain his reasons for challenging his conviction.
The date is exactly 19 years since the blast which killed 270 people when a US-bound aircraft exploded in a ball of fire above the Scottish town.
At the Court of Criminal Appeal in
"We are getting near the nineteenth anniversary of the murder of out loved ones," he said.
Swire also said he was pleased that
Mr Swire was among those in court to hear that the legal team fighting for the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, 55, demand the handover of secret documents which they believe could prove his innocence.
Defence QC Margaret Scott also claimed that a new witness could discredit Maltese shop keeper Tony Gauci whose evidence was crucial in convicting Megrahi at a special court in the Netherlands in 2001.
Ms Scott also said defence forensic experts were working on reports to counter other evidence led at the trial.
The hour-long hearing in
But today, Scotland's top judge Lord Justice General Lord Hamilton, sitting with Lords Kingarth and Eassie, heard that the Americans were not involved.
"The documents don't come from that government or any of its agencies," said advocate depute Ronald Clancy QC, for the Crown.
He told the court: "The documents in question were passed to the UK Government on the basis that they were regarded as being confidential by the authorities that passed them over.
"That being so, the Crown has always taken the position that, if possible, confidentiality should always be respected."
Mr Clancy added: "The Crown has been actively pursuing the matter but today it remains unresolved."
Requests had been made to allow the Crown to hand over the documents and it was possible this might happen without the appeal judges having to rule on the issue, the court heard.
Swire said if the secret documents did not come from
The bombing of the United States-bound Pan Am flight in 1988 is regarded as the worst crime in Scottish legal history because of the death toll among passengers and on the ground.
After much diplomatic wrangling al-Megrahi
and another Libyan, Al-Amin Khalifa
Fhimah surrendered and were
put on trial in a special high security courtroom constructed at the
Three judges heard the evidence without a jury and aquitted Fhimah.
Five judges then heard an appeal in 2002 against conviction by al-Megrahi but decided that the guilty verdict for the murder of 270 people should stand.
For a while al-Megrahi was held
in a special cell in
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, took up the case and after a lengthy investigation concluded in June that al-Megrahi should get a second appeal.
It was during the SCCRC probe that the existence of documents shown to prosecutors but unseen by the defence emerged.
"The Commission then reached the conclusion that the Crown position not to disclose at least one of these documents to the defence indicated a miscarriage of justice might have occurred in this case," said Ms Scott today.
She told the appeal judges that without all the material she could not formally lodge detailed grounds of appeal and asked for more time to prepare.
Lord Hamilton granted the request and made December 21 the deadline.
The court heard that, in outline, al-Megrahi's lawyers will argue that there was not sufficient evidence in law to convict him and that a jury would not have found him guilty.
There are issues about the conclusions of forensic experts and whether the defence lawyers at the original trial did a good job and identification evidence.
Shop-keeper Mr Gauci told the Kamp Zeist trial that al-Megrahi was the man who bought clothes and an umbrella said to have been in the suitcase which also contained the bomb, disguised as a radio cassette player.
Ms Scott also told appeal judges that unless they could
guarantee a safe escape route for al-Megrahi in the
event of a successful appeal, the full hearing - which is expected to take
place some time next year - would have to be in the
Al-Megrahi was not in court for today's hearing.
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Borders Police should be arresting Elish Angioini
and her staff in
The same issues are going to happen in the Nat Fraser appeal case and Asbury ,stiched up by Ken McIntosh MSP friends at the SCRO, will get record compensation given he served 3.5 years in prison.
ALex Salmond and Kenny McCaskill must act to restore confidence and honesty
Posted by: Yok Finney, Ross-shire on today
is so much corruption and incompetence in the Scottish Establishment it is like
clearing the Aegean Stables.
Fire everyone, and re-employ only those with a track record of honesty and ability? I don't see it happening soon.
Secret documents released to the defence, they'll be wanting a fair trial next. And for some johnny foreigner at that
Posted by: Peter Cherbi, Edinburgh on today
the Crown Office's record on disclosure, the defence
team can probably expect disclosure to be on the 20th December at .
#Colin B - L&B might have to arrest some of their own too ... as for MacAskill & Salmond, I think the wait is getting a bit long now on them doing something, if they are going to ....
#sam - yes, pity we can't look after our own first, shows just how crooked the Scottish legal system has become, needing an international 'outcry' to do something about it ...
Posted by: freethekillie2, kilmarnock on today
Posted by: Seumas, Tain on today
for the statistitians---HOW MANY LAWYERS RETIRED TO
THEIR MANSIONS ON THE BACK OF THIS DEBACLE????
I'M JUST JEALOUS AS I LIVE IN MODEST TWO BEDROOM BUNGALOW. AND AM LOOKING FORWARD TO BROWN'S DOUBLING OF THE INCOME TAX FOR PENSIONERS IN APRIL 2008.
I AM AWARE THAT THIS AFFECTS EVERYBODY BUT, IF YOUR INCOME IS JUST £2000 ABOVE TAX ALLOWANCES IT'S SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE ON BROWN'S SALARY.
Posted by: Colin B, Bearsden on today
AS with the cockpit video the UK government puts confidentiality of USA sources ahead of justice- lets hope there is at least one right minded person in the Crown office -although I doubt it if dopey ELish is anything to go by. Isn't 19 years enough time to resolve Mr Clancy -another poor quality Advocate depute who hopefully will go AWOL
Posted by: freethekillie2, kilmarnock on today
the full justice system needs a break, from their underhand dealing's
and contempt for us the people of
it makes them look so corrupt hand over full disclosure, why hide.
13 th 14 of november do we have a chance then?
or will it be next year or never.
CROWN CLEAN UP YOUR ACT LET THE INNOCENT FREE!
Dr Jim Swire (firstname.lastname@example.org)