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From the Eye archives
Lockerbie Latest
Issue 1245, 15th September 2009
megrahi.jpg
Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi

The break-in at Heathrow
It was supposedly a Scottish prosecution, but two US prosecutors sat alongside the prosecution team and appeared to Dr Kochler to be “supervisors” influencing what was released into open court and what was kept secret. Said Dr Kochler: "It was a consistent pattern during the whole trial. As an apparent result of political interest considerations, efforts were undertaken to withhold substantial information from the court.”

More evidence has since emerged – such as a break-in at Heathrow near the Pan Am bay shortly before the flight took off, which was concealed from the trial. This might have explained evidence that was given at the trial by a baggage handler who said he saw that an extra Samsonite briefcase (like the one experts said contained the bomb) had been placed on top of a baggage container destined for the flight while he had left it unattended when he went for his tea.

Governments are still influencing the case
Further evidence, which the Scottish criminal cases review commission (SCCRC) has seen, and which formed one of the six grounds that it cited pointing to the fact that the wrong man had been convicted, remains secret. Even now, 20 years down the line, the government is still claiming public interest immunity on evidence that the SCCRC said should never have been withheld.

With Megrahi’s agreement to drop his appeal and his resulting release, it is clear that governments are still influencing the case. If Britain’s new best friend, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and his government have been welcoming Megrahi back in a way that seems to have offended so many commentators, it is because they owe him. He was a step in their country’s rehabilitation with the west.

As the Eye has said ever since we predicted that the appeal would not be heard, it suits none of the administrations – the US, the UK or Libya – to have the case reopened. The forthcoming release of the papers by Tony Kelly, Megrahi’s Glasgow-based solicitor, should prove that the Libyan was not responsible for the atrocity in the skies over Lockerbie. The papers will not prove, however, who was responsible, nor why the chance to bring the real bombers to justice was so evidently botched – or, worse, deliberately sabotaged. That is what the politicians should really be shouting about.

More top stories in the latest issue:

FROM CANDY MAN TO TAXMAN
Why questions about the tax affairs of the Candy brothers, of One Hyde Park fame, should embarrass the man who now chairs the board of HMRC.

REVOLVING FLAWS
Osborne aide Rupert Harrison lands a job with asset manager BlackRock after designing the pension reforms on which it is cashing in. Fancy!

NO-COMPENSATION CULTURE
The high court ruling that cruelly bars those jailed for crimes they did not commit from receiving compensation for their ruined lives.

HIGHLANDS AND (OFFSHORE) ISLANDS
The hundreds of thousands of Scottish acres owned in shady offshore havens giving tax breaks to their elusive lairds.

CHAOS INTO CASH
Cuts are causing havoc in west London hospitals, but there’s good money to be made by the consultants and PR companies spinning the plans through.

SATANIC PANIC
Satanic ritual abuse has been debunked, but a recent child abuse training day run by compensation chasing lawyers was still told it was a reality.

HIGH PRINCIPALS

University of Bolton edges up the rankings largely due to the success of its film production course – whose leader has been controversially sacked.

UNHEALTHY FINANCES
More evidence emerges that private health firms touting for NHS work are facing serious financial problems of their own.

LICENCE TO MAKE MONEY
How automatic court fees hit the thousands who appear in court each week for failing to make a TV licence payment disproportionately hard.

SKY’S THE LIMIT
Scottish islanders challenge the high price of flights to the mainland as the only airline covering the routes turns a healthy profit at their expense.

private eye issue 1395
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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