Lockerbie verdict a tragedy for Scottish justice, says Jim Swire

By staff writers
8 Aug 2011

The verdict in the trial that convicted Ali al-Megrahi of the Lockerbie bombing is a tragedy for Scotland and Scottish justice, says Jim Swire - whose daughter Flora was among those killed in the tragedy.

Dr Swire, who announced that in his 75th year he will be stepping back from campaigning while the Justice for Megrahi Campaign and others continue their efforts, was speaking after a powerful performance of the award-winning drama 'Lockerbie: Unfinished Business', as part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace in Edinburgh.

"This is not my tragedy alone, or even the tragedy of the other 269 families alone, but a tragedy for Scotland," Dr Swire declared. "We need now to turn ourselves to what Scotland can do to get itself out of the mess created by the trial, and how the mess created for the Scottish judicial system."

He was strongly backed by prominent Scottish legal expert Professor Robert Black QC, who said that no independent lawyer examining the gaps and problems identified in the first 89 paragraphs of the trial verdict against Megrahi could reasonably concur with the "beyond reasonable doubt" in paragraph 90.

"Our security as citizens of Scotland depends upon the fairness and independence of the justice system. That was not demonstrated in this trial and has not been demonstrated since," Professor Black said.

The event is the first occasion that the whole Justice for Megrahi committee, with Dr Swire, has appeared in public in a full question and answer session.

Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb on Wednesday 21 December 1988, killing 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground. It is the biggest single terrorist attack in British history.

Dr Swire, other UK relatives of the victims, and a range of legal campaigners, including Professor Black, say that the May 2000 trial of two Libyan suspects, the other of whom was not convicted, amounts to a cover up and a serious miscarriage of justice. Their concern is that the truth has not come out, and that the guilty have not been brought to justice.

All of the Crown's witnesses in the 36-week trial, which took place at a specially convened Scottish Court in the Netherlands, have subsequently been discredited.

In the latest revelation, a prosecution expert misled judges about key evidence, according to a classified police memo published by the Sunday Herald on 17 July.

But there remains significant evidence pointing towards the evidence of another Middle East terror group, the campaigners point out, which has not been examined in an open court.

They are backing a petition (http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/view_petition.asp?PetitionID=417) before the Scottish Government calling for an independent enquiry into the Lockerbie trial verdict - which is being resisted by the administrations in both Holyrood and Westminster.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body, has also admitted that there may have been a miscarriage of justice in this case.

"The scandal around Megrahi is not that a sick man was released, but that he was ever convicted in the first place," Dr Swire said. "All I have ever wanted is to see the people who murdered my daughter are brought to justice."

The play 'Lockerbie: Unfinished Business', which was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, and has receive its only performance here in 2011, sets out in considerable detail the circumstances and evidence surrounding both the bombing and the the claims and counter-claimings leading up to, and surrounding, the trial 11 years later.

* Professor Black's detailed commentary case can be read here: http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/

* Justice for Megrahi Campaign: http://www.justiceformegrahi.com/

* Scottish Parliament Petition - Megrahi: http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/view_petition.asp?PetitionID=417

* The official website of Dr Jim Swire and Lockerbie researcher Peter Biddulph: http://www.lockerbietruth.com/

* Herald: New doubts over Lockerbie trial: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/new-doubts-over-crucial-evi...

* Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission: www.sccrc.org.uk/

* The full Festival programme is at: http://www.festivalofspirituality.org.uk/

* Spirituality Peace and News: http://festivalofspirituality.blogspot.com/

* More on FoSP from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/festivalofspirituality

* Media enquiries: spiritualityfestivalmedia@gmail.com

[Ekk/3]

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.