The Court of Criminal Appeal has refused to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted for the Lockerbie bombing in November 1988, on bail pending an appeal against his conviction.
Megrahi is suffering from advanced prostate cancer and had asked to be released on bail pending his appeal hearing on compassionate ground. The Lord President, Lord Hamilton, said that the critical question for the court was whether the appellant’s health condition was such that the court should allow him bail on compassionate grounds.
The court said that notwithstanding his incarceration, the full services of the NHS are available to him. The court noted that at present Megrahi is suffering minimal pain and disability and depending on how well he responds to the course of palliative treatment he has begun his life expectancy could be in years. The court concluded by saying they would listen to a fresh bail application should Megrahi’s prognosis became “both more certain and poorer”.
Megrahi’s second appeal against conviction is expected to be heard in the middle of 2009. He has already lost one appeal, but the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) ruled that another appeal should take place.