Even the most vociferous critic might be left in some doubt about the conviction of Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, freed from a Scottish jail to die with his family in Libya, and suspect that the Libyan was the victim of the most dreadful miscarriage of justice.
The fact that the wrong man was in the dock was evident to those few independent observers who sat through the entire travesty of a trial in the Netherlands nearly 10 years ago. One of those was Dr Hans Kochler, appointed by the United Nations, who concluded: "There is not one single piece of material evidence linking [Megrahi] to the crime… the guilty verdict appears to be arbitrary, even irrational.”
Flawed and glaringly contradictory evidence
Kochler’s report was a damning indictment of the three Scottish trial judges who sat without a jury. The bulk of their judgment pointed to a not proven verdict – and then they convicted Megrahi anyway.
As Eye readers will know, there were alterations to crucial forensic exhibits supposedly linking Libya and Megrahi to the bomb, for which police and scientists could give no proper explanation; there was a succession of flawed and glaringly contradictory evidence from key witnesses, at least two of whom were paid by the CIA; there was evidence of the striking similarity to the modus operandi of a Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorist cell, operating out of Frankfurt, caught with devices equipped to bring down planes – one of which was missing. And then, of course, there was the crucial “identification” of Megrahi by Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold the clothes identified as being packed in the suitcase with the bomb. In all his statements and evidence, Gauci only ever says that Megrahi bore a “resemblance” to the man who purchased the clothes – never that he was the man.
The judges performed a number of extraordinary leaps of logic to overcome these and all the other problems with the prosecution case, and it was evident to Dr Kochler even then that “foreign governments and secret governmental agencies”, directly or indirectly, influenced the trial.
More top stories in the latest issue:
Acoba gives a farcical ‘clarification’ of its advice that allowed George Osborne to take a lucrative job with his chums at the investment giant BlackRock
Ed Vaizey, former minister for ‘cultural and digital’, joins boutique investment bank LionTree – whom he’d met repeatedly while he was in office.
Oman pays for Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan to attend a seminar in Muscat – but he’s not the only Tory benefiting from Middle Eastern largesse.
MAY’S APPRENTICE ARMY
The PM’s plan to boost apprenticeships looks tricky given the acute shortage of technical and scientific teachers and her political need to cut immigration.
BIG SOCIETY UPDATE
The National Citizen’s Service, which was meant to help mend ‘broken Britain’, is in trouble. Can ex-PM David Cameron come to the rescue?
CALLED TO ORDURE
Gavel Basher sees a lot of grand-standing MPs reach for their quotation dictionaries as they debate the triggering of Article 50.
Mixed fortunes for Britain’s soon-to-be-extinct MEPs as the European parliament reshuffles its committees and their chairmanships.