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:
BELIZE & THANK YOU
With Dave safely gone, Lord Cashcroft makes a glorious return to the Tory fold at the party conference in Birmingham. Did he bring his cheque book?
THE SHARING ECONOMY
Fearing new regulations, Airbnb lobbies the Tories from a mock front room, as digital policy minister Matthew Hancock promises to do all he can to help.
Bookies, hoping to avoid more controls on fixed-odd betting terminals, have a flutter on the Tories, but only manage to attract MPs from the outer fringes.
A BRUM STEER
Despite being dropped from doing fitness-to-work tests on disabled benefits claimants, unabashed Atos sets out to woo Treasury minister David Gauke.
MAN IN THE EYE
Meet Greg Hadfield, successful hack and internet entrepreneur turned Momentum activist, fighting for Labour’s soul on the streets of Brighton.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk’s career may be in freefall, but his confessions to the Sun and deal with photo agency Fameflynet have been paying handsomely.
WAILS FROM WALES
Rather than ‘shake up the establishment’, it’s business as usual for Ukippers in the Welsh assembly: bitter infighting and jobs galore for family members.