The latest issue of Private Eye carries the following two short articles under the headline Phony forensics.
The last Eye’s revelations that the crown I had kept secret a report which undermined prosecution claims about the circuit board fragment used to convict Abdelbasset al-Megrahi of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has prompted justice campaigner Jim Swire to raise further questions. The fragment, said to be part of the bomb’s timing device, was said to have been found by scientists embedded in blasted shirt remains, and the evidence bag in which it was discovered had been altered by someone who was never identified.
Furthermore, the fragment had tested “negative” for explosive traces and there were discrepancies about how it was stored, tested and identified. It had been passed between UK scientists and the US investigators who came up with the “match” to timing devices supplied to Libya thus linking the country and Megrahi to the bombing, which killed 270 people, including Dr Swire’s daughter, Flora.
“Now that we know that it was always known that it could not have been part of a Libyan timer used in the bomb, where did it come from?” asked Swire. So far there is no indication that the Crown Office has chosen find out.
Nor, says Dr Swire, is it looking into the break-in at Heathrow 16 hours before the departure of PanAm flight 103. This information was also withheld from Megrahi’s trial – although it had been disclosed by the time of his appeal. As he told the Eye: “I would like to know why this myth about the fragment and Libyan bombs from Malta is still being used to conceal the truth, and why the real perpetrators remain free from ever being brought before any court for this crime against humanity.”
Earlier this year the Scottish newspaper the Herald confidently reported that two oft he leading lawyers involved in the Lockerbie case were about to become high court judges. It said that the judicial appointments board had recommended for the bench the former Lord Advocate Colin (now Lord) Boyd QC, who led the
prosecution of Megrahi, and Maggie Scott QC, who led Megrahi’s abandoned appeal, along with Michael Jones and David Burns. [JA note: in fact David Burns QC was also involved in the case, as he was the second senior counsel on Abdelbaset’s team.]
Lord Boyd was recently criticised by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for failing to disclose crucial information about a series of CIA cables referring to its Walter Mitty-like “star witness”, Abdul Majid Giaka, a so-called double agent, which completely undermined the witness’s credibility (Eyes passim). But guess who failed to make the judicial cut out of the four candidates? Only the troublesome Ms Scott. She declined to discuss the matter with the Eye.