Saturday, 14 August 2010

Lockerbie - A demand for a full public inquiry

This is the headline over a report on the influential, must-read Newsnet Scotland website, in which the Justice for Megrahi letter to editors is reproduced.


  1. Yeah! Justice for Megrahi!

    I have another 'out of scope' posting - delete it if you wish and I'll post it another time.

    Can anyone offer me advice on this…even if it is to say my deduction or assumptions are ridiculous?

    Picture the scene, Lord Sutherland, eminent Judge, conducting a (fictitious) jury trial – not the Lockerbie trial.
    Lord Sutherland: If I may interject here, prosecution, to clarify something for the jury regarding the expert witness, because we need to establish beyond reasonable doubt the nationality of the accused on the tape.
    Lord Sutherland (addressing the expert witness): I just want you to be very clear in your mind that the evidence you are giving is critical in some respects to establishing whether indeed the accused was Irish or Scottish. Do you understand?
    Expert Witness: Yes, my Lord.
    Lord Sutherland: Are you absolutely clear that the tape you heard was of the Scottish Gaelic language?
    Expert Witness: Yes, absolutely certain, my Lord.
    Lord Sutherland: And what brings you to this conclusion?
    Expert Witness: I can tell the difference – no problem… because I am used to people from Scotland, speaking Scottish Gaelic, and people from Ireland, speaking Irish Gaelic when they come into my clothes shop.
    Lord Sutherland: I see, and you converse with both sets of customers in either Scottish Gaelic or Irish Gaelic, most impressive.
    Expert Witness: No, my Lord, I don’t actually speak Gaelic – either Scottish or Irish, well a little, but we usually converse mostly in broken English because not many people speak Polish, my native language.
    Expert Witness: So you are offering an opinion on a subject, in this case your knowledge of Irish and Scottish Gaelic, of which you speak neither, and would have us accept you as an expert witness?
    Expert Witness: Eh? Could you repeat that in Polish?
    Lord Sutherland (turning to prosecution): So you are asking us to believe the expert testament of a witness who is plainly not a Scottish or Irish Gaelic speaker – on a matter pertaining to Scottish Gaelic or Irish Gaelic, and you are offering him up as someone who can make a definitive judgement on this subject under oath? This expert witness is neither expert nor credible.

    Lockerbie Judgement – page 15.
    “The purchaser was a man, and the witness recognised him as being a Libyan.
    The conversation with the purchaser was probably in a mixture of Arabic, English and
    Maltese. Many Libyans visit his shop, and when he hears them speaking he can tell
    the difference between a Libyan and, say, a Tunisian or an Egyptian.”

    How credible is the testament of a witness on the dialect or accent or region of a foreign language of which he is not a fluent speaker? I worked beside an English guy in Edinburgh, who thought someone from Aberdeen was Welsh.

  2. Maybe he was Welsh and just lived in Aberdeen ; )

  3. I follow this blog with great interest but don't contribute - however I would be wary of citing Newsnet as an 'influential must read.'

    Even as a nat myself there is stuff on it which really doesn't make it credible. You don't need support from questionable sources when you have it from very authorative ones.

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  6. Interesting view from Observer. Newsnet is a good site but I find on the Megrahi issue it struggles between wanting ultimately to support Mr MacAskill, and the SNP, at all costs and handling the controversy surrounding the dropping of the Appeal and MacAskill's role in that. In short the priority is to defend MacAskill and the SNP. In the Megrahi debate that isn't helpful