al-Megrahi, Alex Salmond, BP, compassionate release, Kenny McAskill, Scots Law, Scots legal system, Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, Scottish Legal Establishment, Scottish Legal System, Scottish Minister for Justice, Scottish Nationalists, Tam Dalyell, The Times
The dog days of August, when even the Oligarch Kings goes on holiday, are times when there is little fresh news and the hacks and those politicians remaining return to their old obsessions. See Oligarch Kings pace.
The release of al-Megrahi was never likely to go away, and this week, with the anniversary of his release, plus the reminders of his still being irritatingly alive so much to the fore, poor old Kenny McAskill the Scottish Minister of Justice has had a real kicking in the press (and that’s only from the Brits).
Being on holiday this week and only able to sample a selection of Fleet Street’s finest, the following headlines are only a straw poll of what is out there.
But it’s not pretty.
“Britain tells Libyans not to celebrate anniverary of Locherbie bomber’s return” Daily Telegraph Thursday 18th
“Libya has made fools of us all” Daily Telegraph Friday 20th
“McAskill should resign” Daily Telegraph leader Friday 20th
“One year after …doubts remain on official motives” The Times Friday 20th.
“US steps up pressure over Lockerbie release” Daily Telegraph 21 August
“Lockerbie bomber “rejected cancer treatment in jail” – “A regretable day – Hillary” Daily Mail Saturday August 21st.
Most are still mis-focused on the idea that he was released for purely compassionate reasons. True, Scots Law allows for such measures but as the Scots legal system has always been a little short on mercy and rarely uses compassionate release, it was never likely to be the whole story.
So, finally, others too are looking behind this for the real reason.
The idea that it was all done for some deal with BP is so farsical that it can be dismissed instantly. As if…
The idea that pressure was placed by the British Government on the devolved Scottish Assembly to ease al-Megrahi out the way is also unlikely. Both the previous Labour and present Con/Lib administrations south of the border would relish seeing the upstart Scottish Nationalists make any unforced error and are privately laughing heartedly at McAskill’s leaden footed folly. Note how they have distanced themselves so quickly.
The third reason, a systemic failure of the Scottish Legal System was explored in a previous post. So it gives me an uneasy pleasure to say that I was right all along, that the entire investigation, processing, and trial itself had been an un-mittigated mess from start to finish. It was poorly investigated, badly run and the Scottish legal establishment were taken for patsies by foreign powers. Plus le change. It was an unholy embarrassment.
Now at last The Times, on Friday 20 August, was moved to agree with me that the findings in June 2007 by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission – in an 800 page report that is secret and you cannot read- saw at least 6 separate, individual, identifiable potential miscarriages of justice. That’s six. Not one or two. Or three of four. Six! Each of which might aquit at appeal. The Scots legal term for this kind of disaster is boorach.
You can read more detailed forensic discussion of this evidence at Prof Black’s excellent site http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com
The doors of appeal had swung open.
The Times (Aug 20th) has interviewed Tam “the bam” Dalyell, a former Labour MP, fighter for good causes and justice, and veteran pain in the arse of corrupt governments everywhere.
“It had nothing to do with compassion” he told them” It was nothing to do with legal precedent, what it was all about was that Alex Salmond [the First Minister of Scotland] and Kenny McAskill, who knew al-Megrahi was innocent, did not want him to die in Scotland”
“The last thing they wanted”, he continued, “was an appeal to go ahead. Why? Because they did not want to preside over the world laughing in contempt at the Scottish Legal System”.
Kenny tells us he is “accountable only to the Scottish People”
Well Kenny, we’re listening .