Friday, 2 March 2012
Megrahi - What Have The Scottish Government To Fear?
Along with others, I can't understand the Scottish Government's insistence that the Megrahi conviction was sound. Nor can I understand why the Scottish Government's need for primary legislation to finally allow the publication of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission's report on the Megrahi case when, according to Robert Forrester, the secretary for Justice for Megrahi, says that all that is required is 'to utilise the simple, relatively cheap, quick and effective expedient of an amending statutory instrument to remove the consent requirement in the 2009 statutory instrument'. source
The publication of semi-autobiographical book Megrahi: You Are My Jury, by author John Ashton, has returned the issue to the front pages once again.
Dr Jim Swire has, once more, felt compelled to plead his case against Megrahi's conviction and this week eloquently explained the evidence not provided to the defence before or even during the trial. Mr Forrester claims that the new legislation is so circumscribed by caveats and provisos that it will simply maintain the status quo whereby, under certain circumstances, providers of evidence to the SCCRC will still be in a position to block the publication of the document whilst it contains information which such persons have supplied to the SCCRC.
Kenneth Roy has broken the habit of a lifetime and joined something - the Justice for Megrahi Committee. I'm not suggesting for one minute that Kenneth Roy's involvement will accelerate the Committee's progress, but it is another highly respected Scottish voice and the more the merrier.
What have the Scottish Government to fear about the SCCRC report? We now know that, although Megrahi withdrew his appeal, it would be possible for a posthumous one to be sought.
Arguments over the power to hold an inquiry should be resolved in the public interest, but despite the Scottish Government's assertion that it would be willing to co-operate in a joint inquiry, the suspicion lingers that there is little enthusiasm for a process that could cast the Scottish judicial system in a poor light. That may be so but it doesn't serve the interests of justice, the victims' families or the population of Scotland.
As I opined over a year ago, if the SNP plucked up some courage and forced the UK government to open an inquiry, it would be a very worthy and long-remembered legacy.