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:
Project Shepherd, meant to improve Britain’s electronic warfare capability, is not only late and over-budget but has created a worrying defence gap.
Recent court evidence suggests Britain’s biggest bank HSBC and chief exec Stuart Gulliver weren’t so marginal to the Libor-fixing scandal after all.
ASK NO QUESTIONS, HEAR NO BRIBES
New data shows how trade support body UK Export Finance, which has backed some very corrupt companies, remains intensely relaxed about having done so.
Good news for the historic lightship Planet – its controversial sale by the Canal and River Trust is postponed until March.
More on the serious misuse by Cleveland Police of anti-terrorist legislation to spy on three journalists, two whistleblowing police officers and a lawyer.
An unseemly row between two hospice charities emerges after the Charity Commission criticises one of them for its poor deal with a fundraising agency.
FROM THE MANOR TORN
More on the underhand way the Church of England announced it was to close Manormead, its one and only nursing home for retired clergy.