Alistair Carmichael questions SCCRC decision not to refer Bangladeshi murder case to High Court



Alistair Carmichael

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael has criticised the body that investigates possible miscarriages of justice over the murder of a Bangladeshi waiter in 1994, The Herald reports.

Mr Carmichael said the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) had not addressed concerns about the conviction of Michael Ross for the murder of Shamsuddin Mahmood.

Mr Ross, who was 15 at the time of the murder, was found guilty after it became known that his father owned a rare type of bullet that was used in the killing – though the evidence was mainly circumstantial.

After being found guilty, Mr Ross attempted to flee the court but was wrestled by officials.

In 2006 a witness came forward to say they saw the boy in a Kirkwall public bathroom just before the shooting.

The SCCRC refused to refer the case back to the High Court in 2014 but campaign group Justice for Michael Ross urged Mr Carmichael, formerly a depute procurator fiscal, to help them in their fight to get the conviction overturned.

In a letter to the group the MP has now said the police investigation “might have been done differently”, citing a witness description of the killer as 6ft, compared to Mr Ross’ height of 5ft 7.

He wrote: “In any criminal trial the issue of the identification of the person accused is absolutely central. When I met Michael I was struck that, at 5ft 7ins, he is not particularly tall.

“The information you placed before the Commission went into this subject in some detail and highlighted issues surrounding the descriptions offered by witnesses and the conduct of the police investigation.

“I think that these are very legitimate concerns. I agree that the Commission has not properly engaged with these issues and appear not to have analysed your submissions in the way that I would have expected.”

However, he said it was “not appropriate” for him to give any view on Mr Ross’ guilt.

He also questioned the SCCRC’s rationale for refusing to refer the case, saying: “To my mind the thinking behind their conclusions is not as clear as I would expect it to be.

“I will be happy to encourage the Commission to reconsider the submissions that you made.”