Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 11:50 UK

Legal victory in Lockerbie appeal

Megrahi
Al-Megrahi is trying to overturn his murder conviction

The Lockerbie bomber has won the latest round of his long-running legal battle to overturn his conviction.

Appeal judges refused to put a limit on Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's list of objections to the trial which convicted him of Scotland's worst mass murder.

Al-Megrahi was convicted of the 1988 atrocity, which killed 270 people.

The 56-year-old Libyan has already lost an appeal against his 2001 conviction but the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) ordered another.

In a 790-page report, the SCCRC had highlighted five reasons which led it to believe that Megrahi's conviction might be a miscarriage of justice.

But Scotland's top judge, Lord Hamilton, sitting with Lords Kingarth and Eassie, rejected arguments from the Crown that only the concerns voiced by the commission should be considered by the appeal court.

COURT RULING

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Megrahi's legal team asked for its own grounds of appeal to be added and submitted its list, running to 317 pages.

Lord Hamilton ruled: "The appellant (Megrahi) is entitled to have his stated grounds of appeal decided on their respective merits."

The ruling, while it is a legal victory for Megrahi, is likely to make his complex appeal even more complicated and lengthy.

The former Libyan secret service agent is serving a minimum sentence of 27 years for downing Pan Am flight 103.

No date has yet been fixed for a hearing which will finally decide whether or not the guilty verdict should stand.




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