In Tripoli south of Lockerbie

As the Gaddafi regime in Libya was finally toppled in August 2011, so inevitably speculation also began about the implications for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, the second anniversary of whose compassionate release from Greenock prison by the Scottish Government came and went as the insurgents reached Tripoli.

Megrahi had been filmed a couple of weeks before attending a pro-Gaddafi rally in Tripoli, apparently in a wheelchair, and it was also reported that he remained in regular contact with East Renfrewshire Council social workers (one of the conditions of his release).

The concatenation of events led to voices being raised, not only about a possible recall to prison in Scotland, but also, in the USA and especially on Fox News and the like, of capturing Megrahi and putting him on trial in America.  Presumably that might be less difficult in present conditions in Libya than finding and killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan was earlier this year.

Scots Law News does wonder what legality might have to say about a US trial for Megrahi, given that he has already been convicted of the crime in question and neither the Scottish or the UK governments have for a moment suggested that the conviction has been over-turned.  Presumably the co-operation of the Crown Office would be needed as well to enable US prosecutors to get hold of the material evidence that would be needed for a trial with any pretensions to being one under the rule of law.

Finally there is the interesting question of whether in the ruins of the Gaddafi regime there will be found any further evidence about the plan to bring down Pan-Am 108.  The Crown Office has indicated that it continues to investigate the possible involvement of others beyond Megrahi.  Scots Law News rather suspects that the Gaddafi regime did not prioritise archiving its records, if indeed it kept very many, so that mystery is likely to remain – unfortunately meaning lots of room for speculation and more debate.  Some of it may be reduced, however, if the Scottish Government's planned Bill to enable publication of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission report raising questions about the Megrahi conviction succeeds in passing the Scottish Parliament.