Proposal for an initial inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi
30 October 2010
The judges at the second appeal had already heard in full Grounds 1 and 2 about reasonableness of the verdict and sufficiency of the evidence. There was nothing left to do in court on those grounds - the judges were to rule on whether they were to decide those grounds first.
The judges had said that when they came back on 7 July they could, in effect, free him without any further argument in court.
They did say when they came back on that date that not only could they not make the preliminary decision because one judge was ill, but also that they could not have done so even if he had been healthy. But it is perhaps noteworthy that Mr Megrahi did pursue his case to a point where he could have been freed.
So I propose that an inquiry, perhaps ideally using the same judges, complete that job using the transcripts and if appropriate whatever work the judges had already done.
They might decide they could not determine those grounds of appeal without considering the others.
There would also be a question as to what should be done if they do not rule that the verdict is unsound or that there should be a retrial. In either case, they could not draw any conclusion that the verdict was sound, since the other grounds would not have been examined.
If the decision was that the verdict was unsound, the cost and time involved would perhaps be far less than any other method.
If the decision was to examine other grounds, a next stage could be for an inquiry to be set up compelling evidence to be released from the prosecution and defence.
Perhaps as an interim measure for now, the Scottish Government might, in the spirit of their stated aim to release all relevant documents, arrange for all transcripts of hearings related to the second appeal to be published.
Above text originally posted at:
Megrahi inquiry idea: As grounds 1 and 2 (reasonableness and sufficiency) already heard by judges, I propose inquiry to finish that job.
Judges or others can work from transcripts. Maybe reuse same judges as well as the material. Cheaper for public purse than new appeal.
Fans of judges can agree that judges had all opportunity to ask questions of appellant's advocate and the Crown.
21 October 2010