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:
POST-BREXIT BUYING $PREE
Since the Brexit vote the MoD has been busy signing off nearly $25bn of defence contracts, with no time to ask any questions.
A big hole in the regulation of psychologists could put people at risk from unscrupulous, inept or unaccountable ‘experts’, especially in court cases.
EDUCASHUN SPECIAL: END OF TERM REPORT
From problems facing new education secretary Justine Greening if she goes ahead with plans to convert all schools into academies… to the parlous state of foreign language uptake in schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Approval for opencast mining at Northumberland beauty spot Druridge Bay sparks (yet another) bitter row in the Labour party.
More on the private firms who, without competition, landed five megabuck contracts to run probation services because no one else put in a proper bid.
HOME IRE’S BURNING
In breach of the military covenant, service families are still ‘badly let down’ and living in poorly maintained accommodation, says a report by MPs.
GEORGE OSBORNE’S SECRET LOBBYING
How getting HSBC and Standard Chartered off a criminal prosecution for money laundering spared the blushes at the top of government.
DODGY LET CALL
Why Roger Southam’s appointment to the Leasehold Advisory Service, whose job is to protect leasehold flat owners, was a tad controversial.
The top civil servant who implemented police cuts in 2015 leaves the Home Office for McKinsey, which wants to do privatisation deals with the police.