THE family of the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing have lost a posthumous appeal against his conviction.

Five Scottish judges said a reasonable jury would have been entitled to return a guilty verdict against Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar said the family would now appeal to the UK Supreme Court

Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, was jailed at a special Scottish court convened in the Netherlands in 2001 for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York which blew up over Lockerbie in December 1988.

He was sentenced to 27 years for the bombing, which killed 270 people - 259 passengers and 11 on the ground - in Britain’s largest terrorist atrocity. 

He was released from Greenock prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, and died in Libya in 2012.

His family have long argued he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

A third appeal against his conviction was held in November at the High Court in Edinburgh after a referral from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission over a possible miscarriage of justice.

However a panel of five judges sitting as the court of appeal rejected both grounds of appeal, meaning the conviction stands.

HeraldScotland: Abdelbaset al-Megrahi leaves Scotland for Libya in 2009Abdelbaset al-Megrahi leaves Scotland for Libya in 2009

The appeal had two key strands:

- whether a reasonable jury would have convicted on the evidence heard in court, particularly on the cirumstantial eviddence of Tony Gauci a Maltese shopkeeper who claimed he sold clothes to Megrahi which ended up in the suitcase containing the bomb

- whether the conviction was unsafe because the prosecution failed to disclose evidence casting doubt on Mr Gauci's evidence and credibility, and infomation in US intelligence cables

The written judgment of the five appeal judges, delivered by Scotland's most senior judge, the Lord Justice General Lord Carloway, said: "The contention that the trial court reached a verdict that no reasonable court could have reached is rejected."

READ MORE: Lockerbie bomber appeal: Megrahi lawyer says identification was 'highly prejudicial'

It continued: “On the evidence at trial, a reasonable jury, properly directed, would have been entitled to return a guilty verdict.

“The contention that the Crown failed to disclose material which would have created a real prospect of a different verdict is rejected.

“The critical question for the trial court was not whether Mr Megrahi had been identified beyond reasonable doubt as the purchaser of the clothes. 

“It was whether it had been proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Megrahi had participated in the deliberate delivery of the bomb onto the Frankfurt flight from Luqa, with the bomb’s eventual destination being on flight PA 103 from Heathrow.

“Mr Gauci’s identification of Mr Megrahi as resembling the purchaser was but one of several elements in that proof. 

“In analysing the evidence, it is not appropriate to isolate that of Mr Gauci’s identification from these other 32 elements. 

“The evidence has to be looked at overall.”

The judgment concluded: “Both grounds of appeal having been rejected, the appeal against conviction is refused.”

READ MORE: Lockerbie bombing evidence ‘formed pattern that suggested Megrahi’s involvement’

Megrahi lost his first appeal against conviction in 2002 and abandoned second shortly before being released from prison in 2009.

However his family persisted and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case back to the courts last year.

In a statement, the family's lawyer said Megegrahi's son was "heart broken" by the court of appeal's decision.

Aamer Anwar said: "Ali Al-Megrahi the son of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing said his family were left heart broken by the decision of the Scottish courts, he maintained his father’s innocence and is determined to fulfil the promise he made to clear his name and that of Libya.

"As of this morning the Megrahi family have instructed our legal team to appeal to the UK Supreme Court mean we will lodge an application within 14 days.

"The family demand the release of secret evidence held by the UK Government, which they believe incriminates others such as Iran and the Syrian-Palestinian group, the Foreign Secretary had refused to do so, this must happen for the truth to emerge."

SNP Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “My thoughts continue to be with all those who lost loved ones on that terrible evening more than 30 years ago. 

“The strength and compassion they have shown has created a legacy of friendship and ensured that the memory of those who died lives on.

“The Scottish Government has always been clear that as Mr al-Megrahi was convicted in a court of law, that is the only appropriate forum for determining his guilt or innocence.

“The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Mr al-Megrahi’s conviction back to the Appeal Court, through established procedures, because it believed that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

“Having heard the appeal on behalf of the late Mr al-Megrahi, the Appeal Court has determined that there was no miscarriage of justice and his conviction for his part in the Lockerbie bombing stands.

“The Scottish Government does not comment on nor intervene in any criminal case. The investigation into the Lockerbie bombing remains ongoing.”

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “The bombing of Pan Am 103 and the terrible loss of 270 lives has had a profound impact in Lockerbie, Scotland, and internationally.

“On behalf of the Police Service of Scotland, I pay tribute to the families of the victims who have demonstrated courage and dignity for over 30 years and my thoughts remain with them today.

“Since 1988 policing in Scotland has been committed to carrying out the largest terrorist and murder investigation ever undertaken in this country.

“Police Scotland will continue to work closely on this investigation with the Crown Office, our American law enforcement colleagues and other international partners.”

Last month the US Government announced new charges against a Libyan man who is accused of making the Lockerbie bomb.

Abu Agila Mohammad Masud has been charged with terrorism-related crimes, and prosecutors say they will seek his extradition to stand trial in the US.