The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission confirmed today that it has received a new application to review the conviction in the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi.
Mr Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the murder of the 259 passengers and crew on board Pan American World Airways flight PA 103 from London to New York, and 11 residents of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988. He subsequently appealed his conviction and his first appeal was refused by the High Court in 2002.
Mr Megrahi then applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for a review of his conviction in 2003, and, after a full review, his case was referred by the Commission to the High Court for a new appeal in 2007. Mr Megrahi subsequently abandoned that appeal in 2009. He was released from prison on compassionate grounds shortly thereafter. Mr Megrahi died from cancer in 2012.
The Commission received a further application in June 2014, which was made on Mr Megrahi’s behalf. The Commission rejected this application in 2015, concluding that it was not in the interests of justice at that time to proceed with the review. The reasons for this were detailed in our press releases issued on 5 and 6 November 2015 (currently available on our website). The main reason however was that despite various requests having been made of the Megrahi family, and of the late Mr Megrahi’s previous solicitors, Taylor & Kelly, for access to materials relating to the 2007-2009 appeal, these had not been forthcoming.
In rejecting the application in 2015 the Commission made it clear that it remained open in the future for the matter to be considered again by the SCCRC, but that it was unlikely that any future application would be accepted for a review unless it was accompanied by the original appeal materials to be sourced directly from Mr Megrahi`s solicitors.
Gerard Sinclair, the Chief Executive of the SCCRC, said today:
“As it does in every case the Commission will now give careful consideration to this new application. In particular, we will immediately be looking to see that this fresh application fully addresses the matters which we identified as missing from the application in 2015, and in particular provides access to the original appeal papers from Mr Megrahi`s solicitors.
“If the Commission accepts the application for a full review there are several important considerations which will affect the timescale within which we will be able to deal with this matter, including any new lines of enquiry and the fact that the membership of the Board has completely changed since the original referral in 2007.”
The Commission does not intend to make any further comment at this time.
Notes for Editors
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission was established as an independent body on 1 April 1999 to review alleged miscarriages of justice in Scottish convictions and/or sentences. Under section 194A-L of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, as inserted by section 25 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997, the Commission may refer a case to the High Court if it believes that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred and that it is in the interests of justice that a reference should be made. Once the Commission refers a case to the High Court, the case will proceed as a normal appeal.
Where a convicted person has died, court rules allow the High Court to consider an appeal where it considers the person taking the appeal has “legitimate interests” in the case. The determination of whether a person has a “legitimate interest” is a decision for the High Court to make.
For any further general information about the Commission, please contact Chris Reddick, Director of Corporate Services, SCCRC, 5th Floor, Portland House, 17 Renfield Street, Glasgow; telephone: 0141 270 7030; e-mail: email@example.com or visit the Commission’s website at www.sccrc.org.uk