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:
THE CAMERON NEVER LIES
Photos of Felixstowe port used in the government’s pro-EU pamphlet show berths used to unload container ships carrying… imports from China!
Sajid Javid declines to defend a threatened post office in his constituency – but is happy to pose for a good news photo at another that’s been tarted up.
ONE IN THE EYE
‘Best to ignore Private Eye’ says the PA to Dame Vivienne Westwood, eco-warrior and fashionista with a canny approach to corporate tax planning.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan’s plan to turn all schools into academies unravels further as another multi-academy trust falls foul of Ofsted.
Great news for Eric Pickles’ constituents in Brentwood: the MP has taken a £40,000 outside job with a firm that handles, er, bits of butchered animal.
EYE TOLD YOU SO…
Yes, Lord Bhatia, one of the first people’s peers appointed under Tony Blair, faces a second suspension from the Lords for double-claiming his exes.
LILLEY’S HOT AIR
MP Peter Lilley fails to back a report saying the EU has been good for the environment. With his interest in coal, oil and gas, are you surprised?
Now even Baroness Browning, chair of Acoba, the watchdog that approves new jobs for ministers and mandarins, says the system is hopeless.