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:
Amid much mud-slinging as a former friend sues the property-developer Candy brothers, more light is thrown on Nick and Christian’s improbable tax set-up.
People with dementia and learning difficulties are being detained improperly because deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) are in crisis, says the Law Commission.
The growing row over bilingual education in Wales now spreads to Brecon High School in Powys.
Education secretary Justine Greening is pushing schools into multi-academy trusts (MATs) even though MPs say there is no proof this will do any good.
A vulnerable inmate at a jail in Kent hanged himself after prison staff ignored his pleas to be moved to safety after he received repeated death threats.
BRIBES R US?
UK Export Finance is still in danger of using British taxpayers’ cash to guarantee exports on which dodgy commissions have been paid.
Brilliant Capita dreams up a new ruse to put unpaid and untrained supervisors in charge of classrooms. What can go wrong?