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]

4.23 pm

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

29 Apr 2002 : Column 681

Points of Order

4.23 pm

Mr. Tam 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:

I 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.

At the end of the debate, the Parliamentary Secretary replied:

What 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 1192.

On 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

On 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.

Mr. 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 has raised.