[This is the headline over a news item just published on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It relates to the written answers given by the Lord Advocate to questions submitted by Christine Grahame MSP. The news item reads in part:]
The Lord Advocate has told the Holyrood Parliament that “there is no evidence of any criminal act having been carried out in relation to any of the forensic evidence in the Lockerbie investigation.”
Elish Angiolini was responding to a Parliamentary question from MSP Christine Grahame (...)
Grahame asked Angiolini if she was aware of the reported comments of former FBI scientist Frederic Whitehurst implying that the FBI laboratory in Washington DC may constitute an additional crime scene in the case.
Former Lord Advocate at the time of the trial, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, has stated publicly in a television interview for Dutch television in 2009 that he was not aware that the timer fragment known as PT35 was sent to the United States of America for examination by FBI officials, and that he would have opposed such transportation of this fragment on the basis of concerns that it might be lost in transit or provoke accusations that it had been tampered with.
Angiolini said in her Parliamentary answer that she was aware of this information, and confirmed that the fragment was taken to the United States of America by Scottish police officers and a British forensic scientist in June 1990 as part of the investigation into the Lockerbie event.
"There is no evidence of any criminal act having been carried out in relation to any of the forensic evidence in the Lockerbie investigation," she said.
“The fragment remained in the custody and control of the Scottish police officers and the British forensic scientist during the visit to the United States and was subsequently identified as having come from an electronic timer manufactured by a Swiss company, MEBO, to the order of the Libyan intelligence service,” she said.
In July 2007, one week after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case back to High Court for Megrahi’s appeal, former MEBO employee Ulrich Lumpert swore an affidavit stating that he had personally manufactured the fragment, and that it had been introduced falsely into the Crown’s evidence chain. He said that he handed the fragment to authorities investigating the case on 22 June 1989, and admitted committing perjury in the Zeist trial, citing fear of his life if his testimony reflected what he narrated in his affidavit. (...)
Angiolini's answers did not narrate what investigations may have been undertaken within the Crown Office or in Scottish police forces to reach the conclusion that there was no evidence of criminal acts.
This is not the first time the conduct of the trail and its handling has been considered a crime. On 14 October 2005, UN Special Observer Hans Kochler concluded that the conduct of the trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmend Al Megrahi had concerned him to the extent that a crime may have taken place at Camp Zeist to manufacture the conviction of Megrahi.
“The falsification of evidence, selective presentation of evidence, manipulation of reports, interference into the conduct of judicial proceedings by intelligence services, etc. are criminal offenses in any country,” Kochler's office said in a statement.
“In view of the above new revelations and in regard to previously known facts as reported in Dr. Koechler’s reports, the question of possible criminal responsibility, under Scots law, of people involved in the Lockerbie trial should be carefully studied by the competent prosecutorial authorities.”