House of Commons Debate on question of
jurisdiction in the Lockerbie case
House of Commons Hansard Debates text for
Monday 29 Apr 2002
|Volume No. 384
||Part No. 138
Points of Order [29 Apr 2002]
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
29 Apr 2002 : Column 681
Points of Order
Dalyell (Linlithgow): On a point of order, Mr.
Speaker. May I raise a delicate matter of jurisdiction as between the
Westminster Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, on which I would ask you to
reflect, and which I have outlined to your advisers? On the Easter Adjournment,
I asked in relation to Lockerbie:
"Now that the appeal is over, what steps are being taken to
preserve the productions amassed by the Crown for use in the Lockerbie trial?
Can an assurance be given that they will not be destroyed in the same way as
certain police note books have apparently been destroyed?"
must tell the House candidly that I am not a lawyer. It was suggested to me,
however, by the professor of Scottish law at the university of Edinburgh, Robert
Black QC, that I should ask this well sculpted question, which he and other
lawyers regard as of considerable importance.
the end of the debate, the Parliamentary Secretary replied:
"My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), the
Father of the House, referred to Lockerbie, as he has done on several
occasions in the House, and sought careful reflection from the Government. I
certainly take note of his concerns and his long-standing involvement in
seeking to get to the truth of that dreadful episode. He will not be surprised
to hear that the only response I am able to give him today is to say that he
has had the opportunity to ventilate that issue. He will be aware that most of
the issues that he mentioned are devolved; they are matters for the Scottish
Executive. I will ensure that the Lord Advocate is made aware of the points
that my hon. Friend has made and seek an answer from him."—[Official
Report, 26 March 2002; Vol. 382, c. 724-93.]
is not devolved is the United Nations report on the appeal proceedings at the
Scottish court in the Netherlands in the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al
Megrahi v. Her Majesty's advocate by Professor Hans Koechler,
international observer of the International Progress Organisation nominated by
the United Nations Secretary-General on the basis of Security Council resolution
Thursday, I saw Dr. Koechler for four and a half hours to discuss his
submissions to the UN. Various avenues of appeal through the UN and the Court of
Human Rights, not to mention the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, are
possibilities. Dr. Koechler said that it is vital that the productions be
preserved for further proceedings at inquiry.
29 Apr 2002 : Column 682
Friday morning, we learned from the press that the productions are to be
collected by 47 families and sent by post to another 41, and that other material
is to be destroyed. Without going into the matter, that has horrified the
officially appointed solicitor, Mr. Eddie McKechnie, with whose approval I raise
this point of order. Given the UK interest in the need for a public inquiry into
the international aspects of Lockerbie, does the House have a locus in
commenting on whether the productions at Zeist should be dispersed or destroyed?
Such hurried dispersal or destruction at this time would suggest that there is
something to hide. I therefore look forward to a ruling at your convenience.
Speaker: The Father of the House has raised a lengthy
point of order. He will understand that I must think about the matters that he