Below is the text of an email that I have sent to the Crown Office concerning the statement it issued in response to the publication of the SCCRC report.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am the author of the book ‘Megrahi: You are my jury’ and also wrote some of the recent articles in the Herald about the SCCRC report on Mr Megrahi’s conviction.
In a statement issued yesterday, in response to the release of the SCCRC report, the Crown Office stated:
allegations of serious misconduct have been made in the media against a number of individuals for which the commission found no evidence. This is also to be deplored. In fact the commission found no basis for concluding that evidence in the case was fabricated by the police, the Crown, forensic scientists or any other representatives of official bodies or government agencies …
This gives the impression that Megrahi: You are my jury and the previous reports in the Herald made unsubstantiated allegations against certain individuals and failed to report that the commission found no evidence that evidence was fabricated. In fact they did no such thing and were careful to report the commission’s findings on these matters. The allegations of evidence fabrication rest largely upon the claims of the witness known as ‘the Golfer’. You should note that the book states at p.291:
[The Golfer’s] accounts were erratic, often inconsistent and sometimes contradictory, and on one occasion he called the Commission from a bar when clearly drunk.
And at p.306:
The Commission barely disguised its irritation at the other written submissions. It had had clearly spent a great deal of time investigating each one in detail, only to dismiss them all. It also wholly rejected the Golfer’s allegations that the police had covered up and fabricated evidence. Having interviewed him three times, it found ‘a vast array of inconsistencies’ within his various accounts, which gave rise to ‘serious misgivings’ as to his credibility and reliability.
Furthermore, in an article for the Herald published on 14 March, I wrote:
The Golfer was the cover name of a police officer who told Megrahi’s then legal team that key items of evidence had been manipulated to fit the prosecution case. Subsequent submissions to the SCCRC by the lawyers, MacKechnie & Associates, highlighted anomalies in police documentation, which appeared to support these claims. The Commission spent a long time investigating the allegations, and interviewed the Golfer three times, but found nothing to substantiate the claims. His accounts proved to be erratic and, according to the report, on one occasion he “telephoned a member of the enquiry team from a bar, apparently under the influence of alcohol.” The Commission did not consider the documentary anomalies to be sinister:
“while some of the allegations made in the submissions were based upon information said to have been provided by the Golfer, others were based purely on perceived irregularities in the recorded chain of evidence. The Commission’s approach to the latter was that in any police enquiry, let alone one as large scale and complex as the present one, human error is inevitable. Although apparent omissions, inconsistencies or mistakes in productions records may, after a long period of time, appear difficult to explain, or even suspicious, in the Commission’s view they do not, in themselves, support allegations of impropriety against those involved in the investigation.”
Given the above, the Crown Office should issue a correction to its statement, making clear that neither the book, nor the Herald articles made the claims apparently attributed to them. If the Crown Office fails to do so, I shall make a formal complaint.