South Scotland

'No criminality' in handling of Lockerbie bombing investigation

Lockerbie aftermath Image copyright AFP
Image caption The investigation into the handling of the Lockerbie bombing case took four years to complete

Police have found no evidence of criminality in relation to the handling of the investigation and prosecution of the Lockerbie bombing case.

A team of detectives spent four years examining nine allegations made by the Justice for Megrahi campaign group.

The investigation - Operation Sandwood - has now been completed and the Lord Advocate informed.

It concluded there was no evidence of criminality and "no basis to submit a standard prosecution report".

Pan Am flight 103 was on its way from London to New York when it exploded above Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing 270 people.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001, the only person found guilty of the bombing.

He was jailed for 27 years but died of prostate cancer aged 60 in 2012 after being released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of carrying out the bombing

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) announced earlier this year that a full review of the case is to be carried out to decide if a fresh appeal against Megrahi's conviction can be made.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said officers had carried out a "methodical and rigorous inquiry" in the latest operation.

"The substance of the allegations was diverse in nature and the sheer scale and complexity of the task has resulted in a particularly protracted inquiry which has taken longer than originally thought," he said.

"However, this reflects the hard work and professionalism of the officers involved and their meticulous approach to the inquiry.

"The findings and conclusions have been validated by a senior Queen's Counsel, entirely unconnected with and acting independently from the Crown Office."

'Live investigation'

The Crown Office said the documents would be given appropriate consideration.

A spokesman confirmed the Lord Advocate had been informed that no evidence of criminality had been found.

"The findings contain material relevant to the live investigation into the Lockerbie bombing and to the SCCRC consideration of the case," he said.

"On that basis, the documents have been passed to the Crown Office and procurator fiscal service team dealing with the live investigation so that they can be given appropriate consideration."

'Thoroughness and integrity'

The Justice for Megrahi campaign said that while there would be no prosecution, the findings of the inquiry could be of importance to the SCCRC review of the case.

It thanked police for carrying out the investigation with "thoroughness and integrity".

"As the 30th anniversary of this tragedy approaches we feel there is a very real possibility that the truth behind the UK's worst ever terrorist outrage will finally be revealed," the group said.

"We have confidence that the Scottish criminal justice system will welcome this light that has now been shone into the darkness that surrounds Lockerbie and will ensure that the truth is finally revealed to those who lost their loved ones on the 21 December 1988."

Aamer Anwar, the solicitor representing the Megrahi family which has applied to the SCCRC for a second appeal against his conviction, said they were "deeply disappointed" at the findings of Operation Sandwood.

He added: "The inquiry material is relevant to our application. It must now be provided to us, rather than just to the Lord Advocate.

"One of our arguments all along is that over the years the Crown Office has not disclosed all of the relevant material to the defence."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites