An MSP writes – part 2

Dear Mr Ashton

I find it ironic to say the least that I should now be branded as a conspiracy theorist re the release of Megrahi from jail when those who protest his innocence are not slow in concocting their own when it comes to his conviction. All I will say is that no one said that he could survive for well over 2 years and had that been made clear many of those who swallowed the MacAskill line out of humanitarian concern would have had second thoughts. Quite how you can be so certain about the content of these unpublished reports I don’t know.

The referral by the SCCRC may have been on 6 grounds as you compute them but you omit to mention the 45 grounds which the Commission rejected. Moreover the Commission did not say that the judgement was unreasonable. It did say that there was no reasonable basis for its conclusion about the purchase of items on a particular day which was a factor in the finding of guilt but not the only one.

However none of this will ever be adjudicated upon in a criminal court not least because Megrahi withdrew his appeal. The Bill is accordingly a pointless waste of time.

Yours sincerely

David McLetchie

 

Dear Mr McLetchie,

I did not brand you a conspiracy theorist, but merely pointed out that there are conspiracy theorists who believe that Mr Megrahi was not as ill as various doctors had stated. It is wrong to label as conspiracy theorists all those who cast doubt on his conviction. You should note that his grounds of appeal did not make a single conspiracy allegation in all its 320 pages.

It was made clear by the doctors who examined him that, to quote the medical report released by the Scottish Government, ‘It is very difficult to be precise on matters of prognosis for any disease and Mr Megrahi’s condition is no different.’ It stands to reason that, while they considered it unlikely, none of them would have ruled out the possibility of him surviving for over two years.

The number of grounds rejected by the SCCRC is irrelevant as appeals are not adjudicated on the basis of the number of grounds advanced and rejected. Six is a large number of grounds on which to refer any conviction.

Your statement: ‘Moreover the Commission did not say that the judgement was unreasonable. It did say that there was no reasonable basis for its conclusion about the purchase of items on a particular day which was a factor in the finding of guilt but not the only one’ appears to miss the point that if Mr Megrahi did not buy the clothes on the date in question then the case against him collapses, regardless of the other factors. The Commission’s report states: ‘in the absence of a reasonable foundation for the date of purchase accepted by the trial court, and bearing in mind the problems with Mr Gauci’s identification of the applicant, the Commission is of the view that no reasonable trial court could have drawn the inference that the applicant was the purchaser.’ It therefore came as close as it could to saying that the verdict, as well as the conclusion re the date of purchase, was unreasonable.  By the way, I am certain of the report’s contents because I have read it, along with the 23 volumes of appendices.

In earlier emails I drifted away from the specific issue at hand, which is whether or not Mr Megrahi is trying to block disclosure of the material held by the SCCRC.  If, as you allege, he is, then the only reason for doing so would be if the material contained information that undermined his case. The SCCRC considered all the material in detail and none of it persuaded them not to refer the case. It therefore stands to reason that he has nothing to fear from its release, which rather puts to bed your allegation.

The current bill is a pointless waste of time. On that, at least, we are agreed.

Yours sincerely,

John Ashton.

 

The reports to which I was referring and of which you cannot know the contents are the unpublished medical reports whose release is blocked by Megrahi.

I shall bear your other points in mind but I am pleased to note we are in accord re the merits of the Bill.

Yours sincerely

David McLetchie

 

Dear Mr McLetchie

I do have some, possibly all, of those reports and believe that they add nothing to what is already known.

Yours

JA.

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