The Firm magazine has today published the following article under the headline Crown Office “communications” unit under fire over “misleading” Megrahi statements
The author of the book “Megrahi: You are my jury” which disclosed major revelations in the ongoing Pan Am 103 debacle has lodged a formal complaint to David Harvie, Director of the Serious Casework Division at the Crown Office over a “misleading statement” issued by functionaries in the communications department.
The complaint by John Ashton alleges that a misleading statement was issued on 25 March in response to newspaper coverage of the book’s revelations, which led to the publication of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission’s report concluding that a miscarriage of justice may have occured.
Ashton adds that the communications unit failed to correct the statement.
The statement in question said: “…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 …”
Ashton said in his letter to Harvie: “This gave the impression that ‘Megrahi: You are my jury’ and the previous reports in the Herald and Sunday 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.”
Ashton states that he subsequently asked the Crown Office’s communications department to correct its statement, “making clear that neither the book, nor the Herald articles, made the claims apparently attributed to them.”
The response from the Crown Office said that it did not consider that any correction was required.
“The Crown Office’s failure to correct the statement means that a distorted and misleading picture remains before the public,” Ashton says in his letter to Harvie.
Earlier this month David Harvie was appointed to lead a new prosecution “networks” covering the North of Scotland.
The Crown Office have maintained a boycott of The Firm magazine since 2010.