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:
ROUBLE & STRIFE
UK shell companies were used to help the laundering of billions of stolen roubles through London and New York, for which Deutsche Bank has been heavily fined.
Those behind Cardiff University’s ‘brutal’ restructuring, which saw its School of Medicine slump in the league tables, are all off to pastures new.
As expected, Cleveland Police did abuse anti-terrorist laws when it spied on two of its own officers, a lawyer and local journalists.
The convictions following the HBOS fraud scandal are a big win for Thames Valley police but an indictment of slow-witted regulators and watchdogs.
FIRE & RESCUE
Shetland firefighters were sent to an incident two ferry journeys away in one of several blunders by the newly centralised control centre in Dundee.
The Midlands Engine, counterpart to the Northern Powerhouse, looks set to deliver as much for companies in offshore tax havens as for local people.
SIGN OF THE CRAPITA TIMES
Capita, which runs PIP assessments, was unable to provide sign language interpreters for a crucial meeting with representatives of Deaf claimants.
ROCKY HORROCKS SHOW
After regional centre closures and a disastrous new group tuition policy, Open University boss Peter Horrocks announces a hasty root-and-branch review.
Just six school nurses will cover thousands of pupils at 152 schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire after £500,000 is cuts from local public health services.
PUBS & PUBMEN
MPs reopen the appointment process for the role of pub code adjudicator as the new man in the job, Paul Newby, loses the confidence of many pub tenants.