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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:

PARENTING IN PRISON
Children are ending up in care homes as more jailed mothers are separated from their babies and special units in prisons are mothballed

OPENCAST TO DOUBT
If an opencast mine goes ahead in the Pont Valley near Consett, locals want to know will be around to restore the land once the coal is stripped out.

MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE
After 44 years, a blatant wrongful conviction may return to the appeal court for a record fifth time. But it will be too late for Tony Stock, who died a ‘guilty man’ in 2012, aged 73.

TRADE SECRETS
Lawyers in London, home of ‘confidential arbitration’, lick their lips at the dispute resolution proposals of the controversial US-EU trade deal.

PENSIONS REPRIEVE
Relief for George Osborne as Citizens Advice, which will help deal with the mess of pensions reform, drops its political neutrality and endorses the cash free-for-all.

HIGH PRINCIPALS SPECIAL
Crocodile tears at Teesside University… a lesson in business reality from the University of Huddersfield’s visiting professor of entrepreneurship, Crombie boss Alan Lewis; and a belated apology from the police to a professor in Portsmouth.

PFEYE UPDATE
As one NHS trust bails out of a ruinous PFI contract, there’s rich pickings still for the accountants who helped push the rip-off deals in the first place.

A YES THANK YOU VERY MUCH…
The Monaco-based backer of Scottish independence, who is set to win yet another ferry contract for the Scottish coast and islands service.

private eye issue 1378
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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