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EDITIONS
Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 12:59 GMT
New Lockerbie trial ruled out
Colin Boyd on tv screen
The lord advocate addressed the Scottish Parliament
Scotland's most senior legal official has ruled out the possibility of any further criminal action in the Lockerbie bombing case for the foreseeable future.

The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, said that, while it was clear the one Libyan sentenced to life for the atrocity had not acted alone, there was "insufficient evidence" available at this time to pursue a conviction.

Mr Boyd also said that calls for a full judicial public inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing and steps to obtain compensation from Libya were matters for the UK Government.

The lord advocate was addressing members of the Scottish Parliament on the outcome of the Lockerbie trial.

Colin Boyd
Colin Boyd: Careful look at evidence
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was sentenced to life on Wednesday for the murder of 270 people on Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. His co-accused, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was found not guilty.

The conviction of one Libyan for the Lockerbie bombing has sparked fresh calls for renewed investigations possibly leading to more prosecutions.

Mr Boyd told MSPs: "He (Al Megrahi) has been convicted of committing murder while acting along with others and in furtherance of the purposes of the Libyan intelligence services.

"As in any case, proceedings can only be brought against an individual where there is a sufficiency of evidence linking him with the crime.

"In this case we only had a sufficiency of evidence against two individuals.

'Further evidence'

"We will of course look carefully at the evidence and the judgement of the court but my judgement at present is that there is insufficient evidence to justify further proceedings at this time.

"Clearly, if further evidence becomes available we will reassess the position and I will want to talk closely with our American colleagues."

When asked about relatives' calls for a public inquiry, Mr Boyd said: "It is for the UK Goverment to consider whether or not there should be any further inquiries of the nature that has been suggested."

The lord advocate pointed out that some relatives of those who died were more in favour of a public inquiry than others.

Roseanna Cunningham
Roseanna Cunningham: Public inquiry questions
He said: "The American families are focused on further criminal proceedings and also civil proceedings raised in the United States district court.

"It would appear that there is not a unanimity of view as to perhaps what the best way forward is, even among the relatives."

However, Scottish National Party justice spokeswoman, Rosanna Cunningham MSP, said the parliament should not to close its mind to the idea of an inquiry in the future.

She said: "There are other questions that need to be answered and cannot be answered in the context of a trial."

'Quietly proud'

On the question of compensation, Mr Boyd said: "That of course is part of the matters for the United Kingdom Government in negotiations which may follow in relation to the outcome of this trial."

Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Euan Robson said that the parliament should be "quietly proud of how the issue had been handled".

He also asked if the evidence from the trial might be made available if civil procedures in the US were started.

Mr Boyd said: "As a result of the agreements with other countries we are obliged not to use evidence for the purpose of criminal proceeding without the governments' consent."

Dennis Canavan, independent MSP for Falkirk West, said the victims of Lockerbie were still demanding to know the full truth about the tragedy.

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Political editor Brian Taylor
"The lord advocate appeared cool on the issue of a public inquiry"
Lockerbie megapuff graphic

AUDIO VIDEO

Appeal concludes

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Full verdicts
Lockerbie opinion posted by Scots Court Service
See also:

01 Feb 01 | In Depth
01 Feb 01 | In Depth
01 Feb 01 | In Depth

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