The unanimous decision of the Holyrood justice committee on 11 December, to keep open petition 1,370 from JFM (Justice for Megrahi) calling for an independent inquiry into the handling of the Lockerbie case, came at an opportune moment.
The powerful allegations of criminality lodged with justice secretary Kenny MacAskill by the same group in September had been referred for investigation to Dumfries and Galloway Police, the force which had responsibility for the investigation which led to the verdict – a stark contrast with the call embodied in the petition for an independent inquiry.
The material which emerged from Hillsborough concerning the deliberate altering of police statements to incriminate football fans and exonerate the police, and the astonishing involvement of MI5, the Northern Ireland police, the British Army intelligence units and others over the brutal murder of Pat Finucane, must place the Dumfries and Galloway chief constable in a deeply invidious position in assessing his own force’s previous performance in the Lockerbie investigation.
At a discussion group at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, titled “A spectacular miscarriage of justice?”, Magnus Link-later alone claimed that the idea of a conspiracy concerning the Lockerbie case was not credible.
It was clear that even then, the bulk of the audience did not agree with him. Yes, he is a respected former editor of your estimable newspaper, but I wonder whether he now regrets his intervention.
(Dr) Jim Swire