Category Archives: Double Jeopardy

A Phony Consultation? Corroboration on its Way Out, Despite the “Divide” in Legal Opinions?

A fine example of the openness to differing opinions and the advantages of the Scottish system of consulting about legislative plans comes from the debate regarding dramatic changes to the Scottish criminal justice rules, including the abolition of corroboration, as recommended by Lord Carloway, in his recent review.

From the Law Society of Scotland Journal Online:-

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has hinted that the Scottish Government is likely to proceed with its plans to abolish the corroboration rule in Scots law, despite the opposition of many in the legal profession.

In his speech to the SNP conference at the weekend, Mr MacAskill acknowledged the opposition to the change, which was recommended in Lord Carloway’s review of criminal evidence and procedure published late last year but has recently been opposed in submissions by the other Scottish judges, the Faculty of Advocates and the Law Society of Scotland, as well as local bar associations.

The Scottish Police Federation has also come out against the move, although it is supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland. Continue reading

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Filed under Cadder v HMA, Criminal Law, Double Jeopardy, General Scots Law Rambling, Politics, The Scottish Ministers

Lockerbie, Double Jeopardy and Crown Office Spin?

Yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday ran a piece about the continuing Crown Office investigation into the Lockerbie bombing. I have some thoughts to offer on the article.

I should say that I am firmly in the camp, having read the judgements in the trial and the appeal, and having considered the evidence and arguments published as time has passed, including the concerns of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, that Mr al-Megrahi was wrongfully convicted.

Extracts from the piece are below, with my comments in bold below the relevant sections:-

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PROSECUTORS investigating the Lockerbie bombing are examining evidence that could implicate Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, the Libyan acquitted of the atrocity, documents obtained by Scotland on Sunday suggest.

The Crown Office has always maintained that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 bombing, did not act alone. Last month, prosecutors requested new hearings to be held in private in Malta. Scotland on Sunday understands the basis of those hearings related to the actions of Megrahi, Fhimah and others in the Libyan intelligence services.

Fhimah, a former station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines, stood trial alongside Megrahi at Camp Zeist. He was acquitted in 2001 by the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, and returned home to a hero’s welcome in Libya. He could face a new prosecution under double jeopardy legislation passed by the Scottish Government last year.

Where to start?

This case was described as the biggest criminal investigation in the history of the Scottish justice system. More time and more money have been spent upon it than on any other inquiry, and one suspects that, adjusted for inflation, it will never be beaten. One hopes there is never an incident in future justifying such expenditure for the police inquiry. Continue reading

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Filed under Criminal Law, Double Jeopardy, Lockerbie