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:
From closing statements, to the conflicting evidence of expert pathologists, a full report on the second inquest into the death of army recruit Cheryl James.
FINE BY THEM…
Too few regulators in the British Virgin Islands, Caymans and elsewhere mean pledges to reveal who really owns what offshore are just a charade.
TAX IS FOR LITTLE (ELDERLY) PEOPLE…
The authorities may be useless at catching big tax evaders, but woe betide you if you’re a 96-year-old care home resident who’s never dodged a penny.
Campaigners won’t lament the departure of Scotland’s chief prosecutor as they continue to fight for justice for the one man convicted for the bombing.
Why no one should have been too surprised by the chaos that ensued when private firm Coperforma won a patient transport contract in Sussex.
PFEYE: A REPEAT OFFENDER
Why George Osborne’s national infrastructure plan’s reliance on PFI Mark II is set to repeat costly fiscal blunders of the past.
The closure of 17 Edinburgh schools due to storm damage is a reminder of who picks up the bill when private finance initiative deals go wrong.
More than a quarter of the specialist ‘studio schools’ set up by the coalition have already closed – yet more are due to open, despite the warnings.
A KING’S RANSOM
Why the finance director of King’s College London wants to keep the whopping salaries of senior university bosses a secret.
COMMON ROOM TOUCH
After a £136m campus refurb, lecturers at De Montfort University now have to pay a membership fee to have a cup of tea in the staff common room.