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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Lockerbie bomber fails to halt report
Judges bench at Lockerbie trial
Lord Sutherland presided over a panel of three judges
The Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has failed in an attempt to stop the presiding trial judge preparing a report for his appeal hearing.

Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi argued that such a report would be like giving the judge "a second bite at the cherry" and would be inappropriate in this case.

During a two-day pre-appeal hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, defence counsel William Taylor QC said the 82-page written judgment, handed down by the three trial judges following Al Megrahi's conviction for mass murder in January, should suffice.

He said that allowing the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, to express anything further would be prejudicial to the appeal in that it would give him the opportunity to advance extra and different reasons for the decision to convict.

Abdel Baset Ali Mohammed Al-Megrahi
Al Megrahi was convicted in January
However on Friday, five appeal judges led by Lord Kirkwood rejected his petition.

Lord Kirkwood said: "We have given careful consideration to the submissions made to us yesterday and today and we have reached a unanimous decision and our decision is to refuse the petition."

Written reasons for their decision will be issued as soon as possible, he said.

After a trial at Camp Zeist in Holland, Al Megrahi, 49, was found guilty of bombing Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 and killing 270 people.

Grounds for appeal

He was jailed for life with a recommendation that he serve at least 20 years.

Al Megrahi lodged an appeal against his conviction which will probably be heard in the Netherlands later this year.

Normally if there is an appeal after a high court trial in Scotland, the trial judge is asked to give the appeal judges a report setting out his opinion on the case generally and on the grounds for appeal.

Following Friday's decision that procedure will now take its course.

Lockerbie megapuff graphic

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11 Jun 01 | World
Lockerbie bomber lodges appeal
19 Mar 01 | World
More time for Lockerbie appeal
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