Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Lockerbie Trial - Dr Jim Swire questions the guilty verdict

[This is the heading over an article by Dr Swire published today on the Newsnet Scotland website. It reads in part:]

When I first entered the Zeist court to attend the trial of Abdelbaset al Megrahi and [Al-Amin] Khalifa Fahima, I presumed that they must be guilty and that the evidence led in court would support this. Instead as the prosecution case unfolded I came to a firm conclusion that the case against them was not coherent and that much of the prosecution evidence was tainted.

Since then new evidence has again suggested gross interference with witnesses. In addition, Mr Megrahi's second appeal, before it was withdrawn, had already revealed a failure by the Crown Office, aided by the Whitehall government Advocate General and even a PII certificate from the Foreign Secretary, to share information with the defence. Such behaviour is not in line with established practice in Scottish criminal law.

Unfortunately this behaviour is in line with the criticisms made on this very issue by Prof Hans Koechler, UN Observer at the Zeist trial. However it was the court hearings at Zeist which originally convinced me (and many other observers, including a number of highly qualified lawyers) that this verdict should never have been reached at Zeist.

Much that has come to light about the case since then has reinforced that position. (...)

Prior to the trial I had campaigned as strongly as I could, for trial under Scots law, believing it to be amongst the fairest available and fearing that any trial under US law would lead to summary conviction and the death sentence. I remain at a loss as to why their Lordships failed to see the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. As usual it is easy to criticise them in retrospect, but this seems to me an unfair and unproductive exercise. Let us just mark their CVs with the phrase ‘could have done better’.

I believe we cannot leave it there: to do so would be grossly unfair to Mr Megrahi and his family, and an intolerable burden on the memory of those who died. Mr Megrahi himself now seems to wrestle with guilt feelings over having withdrawn his appeal.

Beyond that however I also believe that the outcome has severely damaged the previous good reputation of our judicial system in Scotland. That I think should concern us all, for our citizens need to be able to believe that their judicial system will act independently of political or any other improper external pressure. Indeed justice should be, and be seen to be a faithful bulwark for the citizen even against his own government should he feel unfairly treated by it.

I believe the fall-out from this dreadful case has demolished many thinking Scottish people’s confidence in the objectivity of their justice system, and that only an independent review of this case and the evidence for and against the verdict can restore that.

The Fatal Accident Inquiry, the investigation and the trial and first appeal were all of Scottish provenance, so were the findings of the SCCRC. Before we can answer the questions raised by the FAI findings concerning Whitehall, and in the absence of Mr Megrahi's appeal, we need the Government of Scotland to find a way to re-examine what has been done in her name in this case. Without that, confidence in our judicial system cannot be restored.


  1. Bravo Dr Jim Swire

    MISSION LOCKERBIE, doc. no. 867.rtf.

    In the focus AirMalta flight KM-180,
    sorry to complicate for translating into english language.

    Beim Studium über 10'000 "Lockerbie Prozessakten" von Kamp van Zeist fällt auf, dass mehrmals kurz vor einer möglichen Teilauf-
    klärung im Lockerbie-Fall, sich fragwürdige "Zufälligkeiten" abspiel-ten...

    Als Beispiel das ausfallen des wichtigsten Zeugen Kurt Maier wegen Betrunkenheit (Alkoholproblem), für die Aufklärung des von der Anklage behaupteten "Bomb-Bag" Transfers zwischen AirMalta Flight KM-180 auf PanAm 103/B, in Frankfurt.
    Kurt Maier war ausgebildeter Sachbeiter, der X-Ray Kontrollanlage der Firma Alert Management System, am Airport Frankfurt.

    Oliver Koch war 1988 "trainee Officer" und war verantwortlich für die Ausbildung an X-ray Geräten für die 'Headquarters of Alert Managment System Company' in Frankfurt.

    Minutes excerpt of the court in Kamp van Zeist

    Q--Did you know Mr. Kurt Maier at work reasonably well? A--I remember him, yes. Q--Was he an employee who, in your opinion, was a careful employee? A--As far as I can recall, yes.
    Q--He treated his work fairly seriously? A--From my point of view, yes. Q--Was he an employee with whom you, from your perspective, could be happy? A--Yes.

    Q--So far as Mr. Maier was concerned, you've told us about him. Can I ask you this specifically, please, Mr. Koch. Do you remember-telling Mr. Maier -- I'll just repeat that. Do you remember telling Mr. Maier about the Toshiba warning?
    A--It's quite possible, but as to whether and when exactly, I honestly can't remember.
    Q--Do you remember him speaking to you on one occasion, approaching you, and you telling him about the contents of the warning?
    A--It's possible, but I cannot give you a confirmation of that here. Q--You learned, obviously, about the Toshiba warning yourself? A--That's correct.
    Q--So far as Mr. Maier's job was concerned, the Toshiba warning would be of particular significance, potentially? A--Well. --------

    Q--Indeed. But an operator of the X-ray machine would hopefully be particularly vigilant for the presence of suspect radios in suitcases? A--As regards the radio bomb, as far as I know, everyone was informed and would have been able to recognise such an item through the x-ray machine, whatever their level of qualifi-cation.

    Kurt Maier proves by its entries in the officially 'Duty Report' from 21st of December 1988, (Prod.10769) that the x-ray machine started 16:25 hours with: 10 Suitcases, 2 Travel bags and 1 box were sent through the X-ray System. No RadioRecorder or unusual features were seen on the monitor!

    continuation down >>>

  2. continuation >>
    In the focus AirMalta flight KM-180,
    sorry to complicate for translating into english language.

    Auch aus dem Protokoll der Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Prod. 1791, von Witness no. 821, Naomi Saunders wird bestätigt, dass kein RadioRecorder in einem der X-Ray kontrollierten 13 inter-line Gepäckstücken entdeckt und von Kurt Maier auf PA-103/B weiterbefördert wurde!

    Wenn das angebliche Bag B-8849 von AirMalta KM-180 auf PanAm 103/B transferiert worden wäre, hätte es als inter-liner Bag die X-Ray Maschine von Kurt Maier passiert und der RadioRecorder wäre entdeckt worden.
    Das war nicht der Fall, dies zeigt, dass das Bag B-8849 ein begleitetes on-line Bag von Flug PanAm, PA-643, aus Berlin war (Passagier no.167, Wagenführ).
    Damit bestätigt sich zusätzlich zu den bereits bestehenden Entlastungs Beweisen, dass ein unbekanntes und unbegleitetes Bag von AirMalta KM-180 auf PA-103/B keine Change gehabt hätte weiterbefördert zuwerden und somit definitiv nicht mit AirMalta Flug KM-180 transportiert wurde!

    To PanAm, Flight PA-103, only 13 inter-line bags was x-rayed and laden to the airplane, with the following Tray numbers:
    *B-3546, B-10773, B-10467, B-5203, B-5936, B-4809, B-6001, B-7418, B-5620, B-5070, B-3148, B-4573, B-4842
    (Dates from FAG/KIK Computer printout)

    *All of this inter-line bags with one of this Tray-numbers not came transit from AirMalta, Flight KM-180.

    The alleged "Bomb-Bag", Tray No, B-8849 was not a inter-line bag. This bag was a on-line bag, coding as inter-line, from PanAm,Flight PA-643, from Berlin-Tegel and was not x-rayed by Kurt Maier.

    Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi thus can no Bag on AirMalta KM-180 to have smuggled in !

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland

  3. At last Newsnet have given Jim Swire some sort of recognition. I was set aboot on there for previously pointing out they had misrepresented him in one of their earlier articles! ; )