MSP pushes for Sandwood conclusion

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame this week called for Holyrood's justice committee to press for progress on Police Scotland's Operation Sandwood Enquiry, which is investigating possible police criminality in the enquiry into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988.

Lockerbie Air Crash
Lockerbie Air Crash

The atrocity claimed 270 lives and resulted in the conviction in 2001 of Abdelbasset Al-Megrahi, but this conviction has been a source of deep controversy.

Operation Sandwood was set up in February 2014 with the Justice Committee told in March 2016 by Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone it was in its “final stage”, however no further indication has been given that it is near a conclusion.

The ongoing nature of the enquiry poses an obstacle to the family of the late Al-Megrahi as the application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) likely cannot progress until it is concluded.

Ms Grahame said: “I have a longstanding interest in this matter and I do believe the case as to whether Megrahi was rightly convicted or not needs to be concluded.

“The process for this is for the SCCRC to consider the application by Al-Megrahi’s family to have his conviction appealed and for that to happen Operation Sandwood must conclude and report to the Crown Office.

“This cannot be allowed to go on indefinitely –nearly 30 years have now passed since this atrocity and we find ourselves in the position where there are victims’ families who may die without knowing the truth about Lockerbie, whatever it turns out to be.”

The committee agreed to Ms Grahame’s request.

We asked Police Scotland when the Sandwood report is likely to be concluded.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Johnstone said: “The investigation has reached its concluding phase and the full report will follow with a submission process through the Deputy Chief Constable to the independent QC appointed by Police Scotland, prior to submission to the Crown.”