LEGAL experts have dropped a review of the conviction of the man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing after deciding it was “not in the interests of justice” to continue.
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has been examining the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi following an application by relatives of victims of the 1988 atrocity.
But it said it had decided to refuse the application, expressing its frustration at its inability to obtain defence papers from Megrahi’s own appeal, which he abandoned in 2009 after he was released from prison on compassionate grounds.
The SCCRC also said it had “little confidence” in the willingness of the Megrahi family to co-operate with the review or to take forward any subsequent appeal.
An application was made last year by the group calling itself Justice for Megrahi, which includes Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing. But judges in Edinburgh ruled earlier this year that it was not possible under Scots law for the group to pursue an appeal on Megrahi’s behalf.
Following the decision, the SCCRC said it had to address whether it was “in the interests of justice” to further review Megrahi’s conviction.
But it said that, despite repeated requests, it had failed to receive papers from solicitors representing the Megrahi family relating to his 2009 appeal.
Jean Couper, chair of the SCCRC, said: “It is extremely frustrating that the relevant papers, which the commission believes are currently with the late Mr Megrahi’s solicitors, Messrs Taylor and Kelly, and with the Megrahi family, have not been forthcoming despite repeated requests from the commission. Therefore, and with some regret, we have decided to end the current review.”
The SCCRC said it had also failed to obtain papers from Aamer Anwar and Co, the firm representing the Megrahi family.
The commission said it “remained open” to the possibility of the matter being considered again in the future, but it said a review would require the “co-operation of the late Mr Megrahi’s solicitors and his family”.
Mr Anwar said: “Those who instruct us are deeply disappointed with the commission’s decision. However, it is hoped that once the security situation improves in Libya that we will be able to pursue the SCCRC application in the hope the Megrahi case is successfully referred back to the Court of Appeal.”