A FULL review is to be held into the Lockerbie bombing conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has confirmed today.

The decision could lead to a fresh appeal for the Libyan, who abandoned an appeal prior to release from Greenock Prison on compassionate grounds.

The only person ever convicted of the 1988 atrocity, which killed 270 people, Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 and died in Tripoli in 2012.

He maintained his innocence and, following his death, campaigners have continued to press for an appeal to be granted.

Gerard Sinclair, the chief executive of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), said: “In any application where an applicant has previously chosen to abandon an appeal against conviction the Commission will, at the first stage of its process, look carefully at the reasons why the appeal was abandoned and consider whether it is in the interests of justice to allow a further review of the conviction.

"The Commission has now investigated this particular matter and interviewed the key personnel who were involved in the process at the time the previous appeal was abandoned in 2009.

"The Commission has also sought access to the relevant materials and has recovered the vast majority of these, including the defence papers which were not provided during its previous review.

"Having considered all the available evidence the Commission believes that Mr Megrahi, in abandoning his appeal, did so as he held a genuine and reasonable belief that such a course of action would result in him being able to return home to Libya, at a time when he was suffering from terminal cancer.

"On that basis, the Commission has decided that it is in the interests of justice to accept the current application for a full review of his conviction.”

A statement released on behalf of the Megrahi family by solicitor Aamer Anwar welcomed the news, adding: "The reputation of the Scottish law has suffered both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi.

"It is in the interests of justice and restoring confidence in our criminal justice system that these doubts can be addressed, however the only place to determine whether a miscarriage of justice did occur is in the appeal court, where the evidence can be subjected to rigorous scrutiny.”