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:
LOCKERBIE: THE NEXT CHAPTER
Questions over Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction for bombing Lockerbie won’t go away, despite a new book by ex-Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill.
GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER?
Will police now take action after a TV documentary effectively destroys the alibi of Hubert Spencer, widely suspected of the 1978 murder of newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater?
The attorney-general gives consent for the family of a second young private who died at Deepcut barracks to apply to the high court for a fresh inquest.
A LIGHT ON DELOITTE
The accountancy regulator belatedly investigates how Deloitte approved Serco’s accounts while it was fiddling contracts with the Ministry of Justice.
BAD CASE OF THE SHEIKHS
The emirate rulers who own vast chunks of prime central London via offshore companies – and with not too many impertinent questions asked.
Falmouth University presses on with an unpopular expansion even as some of its most respected courses are shutting down.
Live-aboard boaters without permanent moorings fear the Canal and River Trust’s new approach to cruising rules aims to drive them off the water.
PUBS & PUBMEN
Why delays in introducing the new Pubs Code are leaving pub landlords bitter and potentially out-of-pocket.
MOVEABLE FAMILY FEAST
Sir Philip Green’s performance before MPs raises questions beyond BHS – not least about his and wife Lady (Tina) Green’s offshore tax arrangements.
QUESTIONS OF TRUST
Embarrassment for government academies adviser Elizabeth Sidwell, who was chief exec at a schools trust while its accountant stole nearly £4m.
Military families are still living in damp, rat-infested homes, MPs hear, while billions of pounds have been sent to the estate’s offshore owner.