[Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm has just published on its website a long interview with Gareth Peirce, the solicitor for the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six, and a related news item. What follows is an excerpt from the latter:]
Peirce says that the construction and maintenance of the discredited case against Megrahi has required active participation from those at all levels of the criminal justice system, with both tacit and overt support from the top of the political hierarchy.
“In the most notorious cases, everyone played their part, absolutely everybody,” she says.
“A big part of the blame lies within those who form the criminal justice system. It looks as if in the prosecution of the Lockerbie case, the defendants met the same fate, even to the extent of the same personnel featuring, in the person of the forensic scientists.”
The principal forensic analyst, Thomas Hayes, employed by the Crown to testify against Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was the same discredited analyst who was proven to have fabricated his evidence in the manufactured case against the Guildford Four.
He and Alan Feraday testified that the key forensic evidence, a fragment of circuit board, survived the explosion of Pan Am 103 and left traces of clothing connected to a shop in Malta. The owners of that shop provided the identification of Megrahi to the court, and were later found to have been paid in millions of dollars for their testimony. This testimony has been widely discredited ...
“That was the most shocking revelation to me,” Peirce says.
“Exactly the same forensic scientists who produced the wrongful conviction of Guiseppe Conlon, the Maguire family and of Danny McNamee, and had been stood down for the role they played. Yet here they were. Without them, there wouldn’t have been a prosecution, far less a conviction in Lockerbie.
“What shocked me most was that I thought that all that had been gone through on Guildford and Birmingham, the one thing that had been achieved was that nobody would be convicted again on bad science. But yet in the Lockerbie case, it isn’t just the same bad science, it is the same bad scientists.”
In July 2007 former MEBO employee Ulrich Lumpert swore an affidavit claiming that he had manufactured the crucial circuit board evidence and passed it to named individuals charged with investigating the Pan Am 103 case during 1989.
“All of this is screaming out for an inquiry. The ingredients that make up the prosecution’s case are really so rotten. They can’t and they shouldn’t sustain the weight of a presumed safe finding. You can see that they are utterly contaminated. They have no integrity. The forensic findings lack all the ingredients that should make them safe. The continuity of exhibits is all over the place. The only other pillar on which it is held up is this non-identification. It is just a catastrophe. The whole edifice is rotten, and it is astonishing it was ever stood up in the first place.”
[Further contributions from Gareth Peirce to the Lockerbie debate can be accessed here.]