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Court should have heard ID evidence

The veracity of identification evidence that led to the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing "could and should have been judged in a court of law", according to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond said it is unfortunate that Megrahi's appeal against his conviction never reached the High Court.

However, the First Minister said he has "never doubted Mr Megrahi's guilt".

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is currently withholding a report which raises questions about identification evidence that led to Megrahi's conviction, and contains its statement of reasons for referring the conviction back to the High Court.

The Libyan dropped his appeal shortly before Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's decision to release him.

Speaking at a charity race day in Perth on the second anniversary of Megrahi's release, Mr Salmond said: "The SCCRC wanted to remit the case back to the court of appeal.

"That wasn't based on the forensics, which it upheld, but on identification evidence upon which there was a question mark which could and should have been judged in a court of law. Unfortunately that wasn't possible. I have never doubted Mr Megrahi's guilt."

The Scottish Government has pledged to bring about a change in the law to allow the SCCRC report to be published.

Mr Salmond said this publication would negate the need for a public inquiry, saying the report "will give more information than any public inquiry ever could".

The First Minister said he knows nothing about reports that the United States has made a "secret deal" with anti-Gaddafi forces in Libya to seize Megrahi and try him in a US court. He said: "I've read a number of reports, mutually contradictory incidentally, and I suspect they are based on very little indeed."


From Belfast Telegraph