26/03/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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1 Newsnight Scotland tonight, the latest on the story that a Middle-


East the sovereign will fund is looking at buying a large chunk of


the Royal Bank of Scotland. What are the implications for the


workers and the investors here in Scotland? And the obligation of the


Lockerbie Commission report - how did it happen and what does it mean


for the prospect of their case returning to a Scottish court?


As you may have seen a few minutes ago, the BBC understands the UK


Government is at an advanced stage in a deal to sell up to one-third


of its Series in the Royal Bank of Scotland to a bid Abbey. The UK


Government wants 82 % of the back at the moment and would make a


financial loss on the deal. I am joined by a former head of Scottish


Financial Enterprise, and a former editor of Scottish Business insider.


Good evening.. Good evening.


Watched you think is happening here? Is this serious, or is


someone flying a Kate? I am sure it is serious in the


sense that the Government has been talking to a big daddy and I would


be surprised if they were not. They have probably been talking to


anybody else who has money trying to interest them. -- talking to Abu


Dhabi. From that point of view I think it is deadly serious. I am


not absolutely convinced Abbie Derby would want to buy such as --


as much as a third of the Royal Bank of Scotland. I would not


expect a quick deal on that. But you would expect a deal, do you


think? They have form, as you would say.


Abid Abbey, the sovereign will fund invested in Berkeley's when


Barclays was in trouble -- Barclays Bank was in trouble. They took a


fairly cautious stake and then raised it later, then it sold up


when the shares started writing and made a profit. It would not be


unusual to want to repeat that. But say it goes ahead and they buy


a chunk, perhaps not as much as a third, what would it mean for


Edinburgh -- 4 Edinburgh? A don't think it would mean very


much, to be honest. I think they are financial investors, they are


not looking to run the bank. They would not be looking to change its


strategy in any way, they would leave that to the Chief Executive.


If they where to invest I think it is because they thought the


strategy being fall -- followed by the chief executive at the moment


is the right one, so I did not expect them to change that. The


Chief Executive would remain, the headquarters would remain as it has


done up until now. Would this be a bit of a bargain at


the current share price, 28p? It would be a bargain in the sense


that it is half the price the Government paid, but it is only a


bargain if the price goes up. I don't expect the shares to suddenly


zoom. I think it is I'll long-haul. It has been a quick five years


since people became aware of its existence of a report questioning


the guilt of the Lockerbie bomb her Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. It has


put together by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission,


which put together the basis for his appeal. That a cure was


abandoned sharply before has a -- his release on compassionate


grounds. One newspaper has published it online.


A someone, and in this case it was the Sunday Herald, finally went and


did it. There somewhere -- the summary of the report into why they


might have been a miscarriage of justice in the case of the


Lockerbie bomber was certainly an easier read than the original


document. Its 800 pages on the case of a -- on the case of Abdelbaset


Ali al-Megrahi, which suggested eight grounds of appeal, has -- has


been secret until now. The Justice Minister has repeatedly claimed


made it clear that while he stands by the original conviction, he


wants to see it published. That is why I have written again


urging that the UK Government make a decision for an exception to be


made to a normal statutory data protection rules for this unique


case. This will help ensure the wider public interest can be served


a in ensuring that no one is in any doubt. We want the statement of


reasons published and are doing all that we can within the powers of


this Parliament. At BBC Scotland documentary of let


to a whole host of new information and allegations seeping out,


including doubts over the forensic make-up of their make-up up the


bomb. Pressure to release the report was renting, we reported in


this programme how more and more people in the world of politics,


the law and the media, were becoming aware of the contents of


the report and we ask that whether in this internet age, someone would


not just simply publish it on line. At the end of last week, so if


things really started moving. In a letter to the Scottish Criminal


Cases Review Commission on Friday, the lord advocate Frank Mulholland


said that leak -- recent selected and misleading information in the


media had caused confusion. He added that no one would be


prosecuted for her publishing the document. This gave the green light


to the conventional media and at the weekend it was the Sunday


Herald which went ahead. It less the Scottish Government in a rather


strange situation of welcoming a technical breach and the loss.


posthumously, an application can be made and if that is so decided it


can go back to the Court of Appeal. This is an open investigation and


let us remember that the committee has today upheld the hall forensic


trail which led to Libya hands to not half. This is an open


investigation, it has never been the argument that Abdelbaset Ali


al-Megrahi acted alone, it was part of a general conspiracy. But their


evidence is presented and it is good evidence then it could come to


trial, in terms of other people who were involved. It would greatly


benefit everyone if matters of guilt and innocence were decided in


courts of law. Also responding to the publication,


the Crown Office insisted that it committee's report found nothing to


undermine the trial court's conclusions about the bomb fragment.


It was manufactured by a Swiss company for Libya. It find


inconsistencies and differences. He had travelled on a false passport


on 1987. Sole, what next? The debate over


Lockerbie will be better informed after having the document published,


but in the absence of an appeal, allegations of miscarriages of


justice for remain just that, allegations, and tested in court.


I am joined now by the chief reporter of the Herald he broke the


story and by their editor of the legal magazine that the firm.


Did you have any qualms about publishing this? There were some


concerns legally about whether there were individuals in the


report he could have been defamed by its publication and we were very


careful to remit in names of, for example, security agents and things


like that -- remove their means. Eight needed to be in the public


domain. As a journalist, we have section 32, which says, if it is in


the public interest it should be in the public domain. And having read


every word of it, what, in summary, is the most significant aspect of


it do you think? I think the most overwhelming and perhaps, even for


me, having us -- have uncovered it for such a long time, the most


shocking evidence of -- shocking element of it was that there was a


great deal of evidence that the Crown Court did not -- Crown


Prosecution Service did not disclose to the defence team. There


were many submissions which are made to the commission which where


rejected, but at the same time, they were six grounds on which they


said that this could have been a miscarriage of justice. Only one


was required, so ultimately be seen to have a very strong case, both


for a fresh appeal and perhaps for releasing it Abdelbaset Ali al-


Megrahi. What did you think about this non-disclosure? A death -- it


is a fundamental right of any defence that they have access to


their evidence against them. There's also additional information


which we know was submitted to the investigating authorities at the


signed -- at the time. None of this made it as far as what was


presented to the defence. They are sweets and information which have


not been presented. Idea alleging that this Crown Office deliberately


did not disclose? And they say they are no grounds of that. There are


other interpretations of these same events which do not necessarily


lead to the same conclusion. I cannot say that as a first hand


observer of that, but it has been reported me, different


interpretation to what the Crown has offered. The Crown do not give


interviews on Lockerbie at the moment, they say it is an active


case. The commission find no basis for concluding that evidence in the


case was fabricated by the police, the crime, forensic scientists are


any other official bodies. That is significant, is it not? I may say


so. The coverage that we have done in the Herald which started a


couple of weeks ago made clear that it was what this admission... What


the commission was saying. Is it fair to point Tec that there is


some evidence in favour of the crime as well? For example, it is


misses the key concerns that everyone has a lead to as part of


their concern about the forensic evidence, it suggests that that


forensic evidence did lead to malt fans will be a. Also, -- did lead


to Malta and Libya. There is some information in favour of the priest


-- the prosecution. It is not one- sided. The commission looked at the


submissions from the defence team. The Commission's report is now very


historical and the recent allegations which came up end up


the Big Mac only came to light a couple of years ago. -- in debate.


All the late Pat was a material that the defence team asked them to


look at. They did find that there were a number of things which the


former police officer said that they did not find to be true.


Equally, they found an awful lot of information which the Crown Office


did not hand over her and which would have freed Abdelbaset Ali al-


Megrahi. That is all that was needed.


That's brings us on to Alex Salmond's position, which is that


they should all be sorted out in court. Is there a chance of another


appeal? Yes, how? The appeal that Mr Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.


Cannot be be investigated. There is scope for a fresh appeal to be


launched, either by Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi's relatives on his death,


a bar by those -- or by the families of those who were killed


in the event. This is unfinished business is far as the committee is


concerned. They did not conclude and am -- they said it was


unfinished. They need an application. They cannot have one


from Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi because he has dropped it. They


will not hear one from anyone else while he is alive. He is going to


die, once that happens, his own family, are at the family of those


killed, can go to the High Court once again. You mention that is one


option, is there another way in which that could happen? I do not


believe there is another option. could have a public inquiry, that


is what the relatives had been calling for for some 23 years now.


It is the relatives who are grieving for those that they have


lost. It should be their decision, that is what they have asked for.


It should not be down to Alex Salmond or the Crown Office, it


should be down to the people who have lost their loved ones.


Thank you for coming in. Let us have a look at the newspapers this


evening. The Scotsman says that truckers's strike threat threatens


Easter chaos. The Scottish Daily Mail was with the same story. Held


to ransom by 1,000 tanker drivers is their take on that strike vote.


The Independent has appalled on what is bad for her -- has appalled


on what is bad for her debt and debt service. Labour are 17 points


ahead. That's all for now, goodbye. Good evening.


Good evening. A cold start to the mining, fog in


the Midlands. Compared to that chilly weekend along the eastern


coast, it will feel warmer. The same across East Anglia and the


Kent coast. Come inland across southern parts of England you have


21 to 23 Celsius. There will be a fresh she south-east breeze coming


in off the English Channel. Most of the warmth will be around Cardigan


Bay. In the north coast of Northern Ireland there will be high


temperatures. 19-21 Celsius. A little cooler on the western coast


of Scotland, but to the east another sunny and warm one. We


could again break record temperatures. In northern Scotland,


things will change Tuesday into Wednesday. Some cloud and a drop in


temperature. For the rest of the country, it is as you ware. A Touch


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