Judges refuse Lockerbie families permission to appeal

Judges have ruled that relatives of those who died in the Lockerbie bombing should not be permitted to pursue an appeal against the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of blowing up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988 and killing 270 people.

The relatives of the families believe that Mr Al-Megrahi’s case was a miscarriage of justice.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) asked the Criminal Appeal Court in Edinburgh to determine whether the families could carry their appeal forward.

However, the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Carloway (pictured), along with Lord Brodie and Lady Dorrian refused the families permission to appeal – with Lord Carloway saying the law was not designed to for such purposes.

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who represents the families as well as the al-Megrahi family, said: “It is regularly claimed that we place victims at the heart of the justice system, so why should the families of murder victims not have a legitimate interest in seeking to overturn the wrongful conviction of the person convicted of the murder of their loved ones?

“Justice does not die with the accused, in this case Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

“Despite 26 long years since the Lockerbie bombing the families will not give up their fight for justice and the truth.

“The matter is not concluded as we remain instructed by al-Megrahi’s family.”

Ailsa Carmichael QC for the SCCRC said the commission wanted to know whether relatives could be treated as a “person with a legitimate interest to pursue an appeal” if it were to refer the case back to the High Court for its third appeal.

She said: “It would be a waste of public funds for the petitioners (the SCCRC) to move into a full consideration of whether to make a reference and carry out all the investigations that would be required in order to take that decision if they have a reasonable apprehension as to whether there will be anybody to pick up an appeal in the event a reference was made.”

Gordon Jackson QC, for the families, said the issue of public funds was “not all that relevant” as a result of the work already undertaken in the case.

He said: “If they (the families) believe as they do that a miscarriage of justice has happened and there has been a wrongful conviction, as they do believe, in the case of the death of their relatives then that in my submission is a legitimate interest.”