Scotland rejects Lockerbie bombing appeal bid

Megrahi is the only man ever convicted of the bombing.

Megrahi is the only man ever convicted of the bombing.  (Sky News)

Families bereaved by the Lockerbie air disaster have failed in their latest attempt to clear the name of the man convicted of the crime.

A number of British relatives tried to launch a posthumous appeal on behalf of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi following his death in 2012.

The move had the backing of Megrahi's Libya-based family.

However, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has blocked their attempt.

It has refused to refer the case back to the High Court, saying it would not be in the interests of justice.

In a statement, the SCCRC said it had not received paperwork relating to Megrahi's previous court appeals and so was unable to consider the relevant matters properly.

It also stated it had little confidence in the willingness of the Megrahi family to co-operate with the current review or to take forward any subsequent appeal.

Megrahi is the only man ever convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people were killed when a bomb was placed on board a Pan Am jet travelling from Heathrow to New York.

Following his conviction in January 2001, he lost one appeal and abandoned a second before being released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

He died three years later, aged 60, at home in Tripoli.

The chairman of the SCCRC, Jean Couper, said: "A great deal of public money and time was expended on the commission's original review of Mr Megrahi's case which resulted, in 2007, in him being given the opportunity to challenge his conviction before the High Court by way of a second appeal.

"In 2009, along with his legal team, Mr Megrahi decided to abandon that appeal.

"Before agreeing to spend further public money on a fresh review the commission required to consider the reasons why he chose to do so.

"It is extremely frustrating that the relevant papers, which the commission believes are currently with the late Mr Megrahi's solicitors, Messrs Taylor and Kelly, and with the Megrahi family, have not been forthcoming despite repeated requests from the commission.

"Therefore, and with some regret, we have decided to end the current review.

"It remains open in the future for the matter to be considered again by the commission, but it is unlikely that any future application will be accepted for review unless it is accompanied with the appropriate defence papers.

"This will require the co-operation of the late Mr Megrahi's solicitors and his family."

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