Lockerbie update

The long drawn out saga of both the Megrahi appeal and his possible transfer to Libya under an inter-governmental agreement continues, with little sign of a conclusion in sight – indeed with possible conclusions delayed.

As Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill met and spoke with Libyan government representatives, UK relatives of some of those who died in the bombing of PanAm Flight 108 over Lockerbie in 1988, and the US Attorney General, as well as apparently preparing to meet with Megrahi himself, it was announced on 7 July 2009 that the judgment in the latest stage of Megrahi's appeal against conviction, previously expected in July, would not be published before mid-September.  This was because one of the judges in the case, Lord Wheatley, had had to undergo heart surgery and would not be fully fit until the early autumn.  The Lord Justice General indicated that the judges had done significant work on the case prior to Lord Wheatley's admission to hospital, but "complex and difficult issues" still awaited resolution.  The concerns over the apparently deteriorating state of Megrahi's own health (he has prostate cancer) were recognised in Lord Hamilton's remarks but "regrettably the court is unable to accommodate that".  Megrahi's counsel, Maggie Scott QC, was quoted as saying, "There is a very real risk my client will die before this case is adjudicated."