ALMOST 30 years after the UK’s worst terrorist atrocity, campaigners who believe the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was innocent have said there is a “real possibility” the truth “will finally be revealed”.

Justice for Megrahi (JfM) made their comment after Police Scotland said it had found no evidence of criminality in the handling of the investigation and prosecution following a lengthy investigation.

Detectives spent four years examining nine allegations made by JfM – including perverting the course of justice and perjury – against the Crown, police and forensic officials who worked on the investigation, in an inquiry named Operation Sandwood.

Pan Am flight 103 was travelling from London to New York when it exploded above Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people. Megrahi was convicted in 2001, and jailed for 27 years. He died of prostate cancer in 2012, aged 60, three years after being released on compassionate grounds.

Separate to the police investigation, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) announced a review earlier this year to decide if a fresh appeal can be made against the Libyan’s conviction.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “The substance of the allegations were diverse in nature and the sheer scale and complexity of the task has resulted in a particularly protracted inquiry which has taken longer than originally thought ... The findings and conclusions have been validated by a senior Queen’s Counsel, entirely unconnected with and acting independently from the Crown Office.

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Part of the wreckage of Pan Am flight 103

“I have written to the Lord Advocate to inform him Operation Sandwood is now complete and that there is no evidence of criminality and therefore no basis to submit a standard prosecution report.

“The material collated during the inquiry and the findings and conclusions reached have relevance to both the ongoing live investigation and the potential appeal against conviction lodged on behalf of the late Mr Megrahi. The materials have therefore been handed to Crown Office officials.”

A Crown Office spokesperson said the documents will be given appropriate consideration: “The findings contain material relevant to the live investigation into the Lockerbie bombing and to the SCCRC consideration of the case.

“On that basis, the documents have been passed to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service team dealing with the live investigation so that they can be given appropriate consideration.”

JfM welcomed the report and said in a statement: “As the 30th anniversary of this tragedy approaches we feel there is a very real possibility that the truth behind the UK’s worst ever terrorist outrage will finally be revealed.

“We have confidence that the Scottish criminal justice system will welcome this light that has now been shone into the darkness that surrounds Lockerbie.”

Speaking exclusively to The National, retired police superintendent Iain McKie, a key figure in JfM, said the group was “extremely pleased” that the report findings would be made available to the SCCRC. He added: “I would be very surprised if there was not information in the report which is positive towards the appeal going forward to the court. To block an appeal, even at this late stage, I feel, would not be in the interests of justice.”

Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who represents Megrahi’s family, said: “What is of significance today is that Police Scotland appears to have uncovered material that it believes would be of importance to our pending application for a miscarriage of justice appeal with the SCCRC.

“Failure to disclose material to the defence has been a constant criticism of the Crown made by the Lockerbie defence over the years. Accordingly, I will be requesting that the Lord Advocate disclose all relevant material to our legal team as a matter of urgency.”