During yesterday's MOJO conference in Glasgow, it apparently slipped out among guests discussing the many problems of Scotland's creaking & corrupt justice system that the Court of Appeal are trying to limit Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi's appeal to exactly the terms of what the SCCRC referred his case on.
If this does transpire to be the case, it will be a first in Scots Law since the creation of the SCCRC in 1999 and will be a major setback to the Lockerbie appeal case, currently running through the Appeals Court, and noticeably suffering from intense political interference and a seemingly lack of any will on the part of some in the legal system to get to the bottom of things, which for the good of Scots justice, must be aired in public and corrected.
As was further eluded to at yesterday's MOJO conference, the test case for how appeals should proceed was the Campbell and Steele case which accepted that once the SCCRC make the referral it is up to the defence team to then lodge grounds on behalf of any appellant and indeed this is the way it has worked since SCCRC inception in 1999.
The SCCRC Rules of referral can be seen here:
"If we refer your case to the High Court you will require to instruct a solicitor to assist you. To see a list of solicitors who undertake appeal work please click here
If your appeal is in relation to a summary conviction, after the referral has been received by the High Court, the court will fix a date for a procedural hearing. You will be notified of the date of the hearing by Justiciary Office. The purpose of the hearing is to establish whether the appeal should proceed solely in terms of the grounds raised in the Commission’s statement of reasons or whether you wish to raise any other grounds of appeal. Although the Commission has referred your case to the High Court on the specific grounds contained in its statement of reasons, you are permitted to raise other matters at appeal which have not been referred to by the Commission. If other grounds are to be raised, the High Court may require a note of appeal to be lodged detailing the other grounds. The appeal should thereafter proceed as normal.
If your appeal is in relation to a solemn conviction, your appeal will require to be presented at the High Court by you, or counsel acting on your behalf. Within eight weeks of the date of the referral you will require to lodge with the High Court a note of appeal setting out the grounds upon which you seek to challenge your conviction. Your appeal will be treated by the court as if leave to appeal has already been granted.
Any application for legal aid submitted on your behalf to the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) for the purposes of your appeal will be granted subject to you satisfying SLAB that you are financially eligible. In other words, SLAB will not scrutinise the merits of your application but will need to be given information about your present financial situation or will require to be satisfied that you received legal aid at your original trial.
the above, taken from the SCCRC website quite clearly states:
Although the Commission has referred your case to the High Court on the specific grounds contained in its statement of reasons, you are permitted to raise other matters at appeal which have not been referred to by the Commission.
It should then proceed as if Leave Has Been Granted:
Your appeal will be treated by the court as if leave to appeal has already been granted
so there we have it ... the appeals process seems to be in a state of being disturbed from the norm, for some reason in the Lockerbie case ... reasons which should be made clear to the rest of us ...