THE father of a young woman killed in the Lockerbie bombing warns the SNP's hopes for the referendum will be adversely affected by Scotland's failure to address major concerns about the prosecution and the trial.


Dr Jim Swire has written the foreword to a new book to be launched today called Scotland's Shame. The book's author John Ashton, biographer of the Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, brands the case the greatest scandal of Scotland's post-devolution era.

Dr Swire, who was born and raised in Skye, argues that the case could have a bearing on next year's independence vote. He writes: "Scottish justice survived the Act of Union with England with its independence intact: perhaps since then it has been a talisman of Scotland's reputation as an independent nation capable of running its own affairs. If that is so, Scotland - my country - would do well to address the apparent problem of the impenetrable arrogance of her prosecuting authorities that seem to have blighted her justice system ever since it became clear that the Lockerbie trial had been defective.

"It is best addressed from within Scotland herself and may well be a factor which will block independence until it is resolved, for an independent community with an obscured and mistrusted justice system can never be a healthy community.

"We would wish healing, not harm, for Scotland and all her people, but the arrogant refusal to consider fault has dragged on so long that the cure is not likely to be found within the timescale now scheduled for the independence debate. It is to be hoped that the refusal of the current Scottish Government to intervene with an independent inquiry, despite clearly having the powers required to do so, is not driven by motives of party advantage."

An SNP spokesman said: "We have enormous respect for Dr Swire, and hope he would accept that everything that has been done in Scotland in relation to the Lockerbie atrocity. In stark contrast, the Westminster Government based its stance on Mr al-Megrahi's release on political and economic considerations."