WHEN the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) referred the Lockerbie case back for a fresh appeal in June 2007 they were only able to publish a summary of their findings.

At that stage if they had published the full report they could have been prosecuted. Legally their hands were tied.

In an effort to get the report published, the Scottish Government passed a statutory instrument, which meant it would no longer be a criminal act for the SCCRC to publish such reports.

However, the 821-page document was still bound by Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation.

The commission wrote to the individuals mentioned in the report asking for their consent for publication.

Consent was not given. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi said he would agree if the Crown did. Ultimately, however, the Crown did not.

To try to get the report into the public domain, ministers brought forward legislation to ease publication.

This should be enacted in May but because of the status of the SCCRC, they are still bound by Data Protection legislation.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has written to UK Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to ask for an exemption under Data Protection.

The Herald is the first newspaper to have had access to the report.

Five years on it is finally closer to being aired.