It is hard to see how the Westminster Foreign Secretary can justify his attempt to "protect" documents with Public Interest Immunity (PII) certificates on the grounds that they would harm the UK's relations with other nations, and that their release to the defence in the Lockerbie case would disadvantage the very public PIIs are designed to serve.

It appears these documents were supplied to the prosecution (and Dumfries and Galloway police) about 12 years ago, and concern the truth about a terrorist atrocity of nearly 20 years ago. It also appears they were considered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to be part of their reason for considering the original trial and appeal might have been unsafe. The Foreign Secretary must realise that the longstanding release of them to the prosecution, but not the defence, wrecks any chance of the next appeal being considered fair. Coupled with their inclusion in the SCCRC's referral back to appeal, this grossly selective restriction can only destroy any remaining vestige of faith in the freedom and independence of Scotland's judicial system.

No doubt the defence will continue to fight for the documents to be released to them. Meanwhile, the use of the PII certificates will be seen outside these islands as at best a delaying tactic by Whitehall, and at worst a calculated attempt to ensure Mr Megrahi does not get a fair appeal and the relatives are denied the truth about the murder of their loved ones, as are the the public, while Scotland's independent criminal law is seen as enslaved to Britain's politicians.

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Dr Jim Swire, Father of Flora, murdered at Lockerbie, Rowans Corner, Calf Lane, Chipping Campden.