Informed bystanders would be justified in interpreting the pilgrimage of Crown Office prosecutors to Libya (your report, 2 March) as an exercise in contrived distraction.
Faced with considerable doubts as to the merits of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi’s conviction for the Lockerbie bombing, (including the findings of the Scottish Criminal Review Commission), the Crown Office responded by ignoring the unpalatable evidence that undermines that validity of the conviction. This includes evidence withheld from Megrahi’s defence team and claims of a discrepancy in the metal analysis of a circuit board – a key piece of evidence in the case. These issues were underlined in John Ashton’s book, Megrahi, You are my Jury, (published in 2012).
The Crown Office, on red alert about the possibility of a miscarriage of justice, ignored the book and compounded that show of concern for the fundamental tenets of justice by failing to contact the scientists who carried out the tests on the circuit fragment.
To nurture a growing reputation for leaving every stone undisturbed in the pursuit of justice, the Crown Office responded to the contents of John Ashton’s book, to the work of the aforementioned scientists and the consequent concerns of the families of the Lockerbie victims, by unfurling the flag of evasive pomposity: “As we have stated repeatedly, the only appropriate forum for the determination of guilt or innocence is the criminal court.
“As the investigation remains live, it would not be appropriate to offer further comment.”
Clearly, although the “investigation remains live”, it is not “live enough” to inspire the Crown Office to contact the scientists whose work and tests on the circuit board appear to undermine the essence of the Crown’s case against Megrahi. Instead, Crown Office prosecutors preferred a pilgrimage to Libya, a country deep in the chaos of post-war tribal strife, in a desperate, and rather pathetic attempt, to uphold the “integrity” of the Scottish legal system.