I am today releasing a second batch of important documents, most of which were withheld from Abdelbaset’s lawyers. All concern the forensic evidence and give a very different picture to that which the Crown presented to the trial court and the wider public. There are ten documents in all. The first five can be read here, along with explanatory notes, and the second five here. My publisher, Birlinn has today issued the following press release:
Newly released documents show that police and prosecutors were aware of deep flaws in Crown case before Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s trial for the Lockerbie bombing. The documents, which prosecutors had kept secret, directly contradict crucial trial testimony of the Crown’s lead forensic expert and fatally undermine the prosecution case.
Three of the documents concern the fragment of circuit board, known as PT/35b, which was allegedly from the bomb’s timer. Easily the most important physical evidence against Megrahi, the Crown alleged that it was from a batch of 20 timers that were supplied to Libya by Swiss company Mebo. The papers show that the Crown, police and forensic expert Allen Feraday were all aware of a crucial metallurgical difference between the fragment and the circuit boards used in the 20 timers. This disparity proved that the fragment could not have originated from one of the timers.
The papers, which are being released by Scotland’s Shame author John Ashton, also show that:
- Feraday privately harboured doubts about a crucial analysis conducted by the Crown’s other lead forensic expert, Dr Thomas Hayes.
- Feraday successfully urged the police to prevent tests that might have challenged his own conclusions about the bomb.
- Both he and Hayes were chronically overburdened by other casework.
- The police bitterly mistrusted Feraday’s American opposite number Tom Thurman.
Mr Ashton said: ‘These documents tear the heart out of the Crown’s forensic case. They also raises serious questions about the neutrality of the most important forensic witness. The Crown’s failure to disclose them to the defence is nothing short of scandalous. Such failures underline why the Scottish government must order a public inquiry in to the case.”