Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The day has dawned on the sunset of Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s tenure and career as Justice Minister
The day dawned yesterday on the sunset of Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s tenure and career as Justice Minister.
He is now damaged goods, damaged beyond political repair, and it wasn't the work of the opposition but rather a man who continually claims that he suffered a miscarriage of justice.
At present the Justice Minister has been quick to deny the claims in a new book, entitled Megrahi: You Are My Jury.
He took to the TV to prove his innocence, however looking at the footage, I was struck not by his words of denial but rather what the eyes were saying.
They were saying that this is a man who is completely uncomfortable denying the claims in the book.
MacAskill, who in my opinion should never have been appointed Justice Minister is under pressure to explain the claims he advised the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing to drop his appeal.
Since the appeal was against conviction, it throws up serious questions, did a Scottish Justice Minister tamper with a witness.
In Scottish law tampering with a witness is a serious issue to be levelled at anyone, but at the Justice Minister it is unheard of.
Megrahi claims he felt pressured to drop his claim to smooth the way for his compassionate release.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi says he was "the innocent victim of dirty politics, a flawed investigation and judicial folly".
The only course of action by a decent Government is to run his appeal, the public have a right to know, was the trial of Al Megrahi tainted by the withholding of evidence by the Crown.
I have previously blogged on why under Elish Angiolini, Justice was a sham which hampers the SNP case for independence.
No justice means no independence.
Recently high profile failures of the SNP Government all stem from the one department, the Justice brief of Kenny MacAskill.
Silly little gimmicks and ‘housekeeping’ have been portrayed as success.
The Crown Office like the Fingerprint Service has been shown to be ‘unfit for purpose’ however the SNP Government hasn’t the political will to tackle the big problems.
That is why Scots need the UK Supreme Court, Kenny MacAskill needs an outside source to rectify and put his house in order, he is incapable of doing it himself.
Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie calls for Kenny MacAskill and Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland to make a statement to Holyrood.
We are beyond statements, we must move on to the appeal, and leadership is required by the SNP on this issue.
Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.
"Allegations of suppression of evidence and a Greenock Prison release deal between the Justice Secretary and Megrahi make it essential for a statement to be made to Parliament - it is important the Justice Secretary answers serious questions."
Tory leader Ruth Davidson said:
"This is a staggering claim and implies the Scottish Justice Minister was offering legal advice to help a convicted killer escape prison."
Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, said Mr MacAskill may have "knowingly misled Parliament".
The problem in the SNP is that quick solutions badly thought-out without mental rigour has seen blowback in SNP policies, scratch below the surface and it is clear that beneath slogans and press releases there is precious little there.
The book's author, John Ashton, who spent three years as a researcher with Megrahi's legal team, described the Crown's failure to disclose key information as a "scandal".
Professor Robert Black, one of the architects of the original trial, said the book appeared to have "put the final nail in the coffin of the conviction."
Was the sticking of two fingers up to the Labour Government and saying ‘f*ck you’ in order to grab a little TV as ‘world statesman’ by Alex Salmond really worth it?
I would suggest not, if the SNP Government doesn’t takes steps to ensure that this issue of the appeal is run, it casts doubt not just on the competence of Kenny MacAskill but directly on Alex Salmond, he should consider Alex Neil for Justice Minister subject to a rigourous interview.
No justice means no independence.
Today is the day that the SNP lost credibility to handle justice issues on behalf of the Scottish people.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University