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:
HERE COMES THE BRIBE
The shady operators given taxpayer support by UK Export Finance as the government makes it easier to win backing for dubious contracts.
PASSING THE BUCK
Government failure to pursue huge sums of unpaid child maintenance leaves families trapped in poverty.
SUM MISTAKE SURELY
Primary school cuts classroom assistant while paying wads to a maths consultant who is married to the headteacher.
Does your prize ceremony deserve a prize? Conference firm launches awards for awards.
As bankrupt hospital chair steps down, the new man in the job has a worrying track record on waiting times.
The Navy announces its departure date from Rosyth, but it will be leaving its nuclear waste behind.
Custody sergeant who faced prosecution over death in Brixton police station is cleared of perjury and returns to duties.
Essex police are forced to disclose internal documents about the investigation into a suspicious death on a farm linked to drug and gun crime.
The new emergency services communication system will be far cheaper than Airwave but will it be ready on time? And will it work underground?