Cabinet members praised the handling of the original appeal into the conviction of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for showing Scotland’s justice system “at its most professional and effective”, official papers reveal.
Scottish Executive papers from 2002 newly released by the National Records of Scotland record the discussion of the Cabinet meeting on March 13 that year after Megrahi lost his appeal against his 2001 conviction for the 1988 bombing which killed 270 people.
The minutes state the Cabinet noted its appreciation for the “excellent” work of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service over the appeal.
It continues: “The way the appeal had been handled had shown the Scottish criminal justice system at its most professional and effective and was a credit to all concerned.”
Holyrood is currently considering a petition for an independent inquiry into Megrahi’s conviction from Justice for Megrahi campaigners, who include relatives of the bombing victims.
The long-running petition is being kept under consideration pending the completion of a Police Scotland operation investigating nine allegations of criminality levelled by Justice for Megrahi at the Crown Office, police, and forensic officials involved in the investigation and legal processes relating to Megrahi’s conviction.
Megrahi was jailed for for 27 years but was released home to Libya on compassionate grounds in 2009 and died of prostate cancer aged 60 three years later.
Five years after he lost his 2002 appeal against his conviction, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission recommended in 2007 he should be granted a second appeal.
He dropped the second attempt to overturn his conviction in 2009, ahead of his return to Libya, but his widow Aisha and son Ali lodged a new bid to appeal against his conviction in July 2017.