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:
Meet John Beggs, the attack dog QC who’s been busy defending not one but two police forces recently at both the Hillsborough and Deepcut inquests.
GOING STRAIGHT DOWNHILL
Probation privatisation contracts were awarded without competition… or given to second-best bidders to avoid creating local monopolies, an audit finds.
A coroner investigating the death of a mental health patient in Wales steps down after complaints that her relationship with the ABMU health board was far too cosy.
MULTIPLE MORGAN FAILURE
The mixed record of schools in multi-academy trusts is another blow to education secretary Nicky Morgan and her school academies programme.
A pilot scheme to test four year olds as they start school is scrapped because the three commercially produced test options weren’t remotely comparable.
TIES THAT BIND
Pub tenants hoping to escape the reviled beer tie are feeling bitter (geddit?) as implementation of the new pubs code is suddenly delayed.
A new venture for former care homes CEO Philip Scott sees him installing Big Brother cameras in care homes to protect residents and staff alike.
More on Unicom, the ‘predatory’ telecoms firm that wins rave reviews on a consumer website (owned by its very own private equity investors.)