Inquiry into Lockerbie link to McKie prints 'cover-up'

CONTROVERSIAL claims that mistakes made in the Shirley McKie fingerprint case were covered up so they would not affect the Lockerbie bombing prosecution are to be investigated in a judicial inquiry, it was reported yesterday.

The inquiry is expected to address questions about the affair, including the suspicions of US fingerprint experts that an initial mistake was covered up so as not to knock confidence in the Scottish system as the Lockerbie trial progressed.

The claims come as Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the bombing of PanAm Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie killing 270 people, awaits a Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) report, which may recommend his appeal is heard.

SNP MSP Alex Neil said: "The thrust of this isn't to answer the question of whether Shirley McKie is guilty or not - we've already got the answers to that.

"But a lot of questions remain. Was the failure to admit the fingerprint mistake early on because it would have unravelled the Lockerbie case?"

Last year Ms McKie was cleared of perjury and awarded 750,000 in compensation.

Her father, Iain McKie, added: "This case brings in Lockerbie, and that needs to be looked at."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "We are committed to establishing an inquiry. Its remit will be announced soon."

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