What follows is an item posted on this blog six years ago on this date:
Peter Fraser pins colours to the mast
In an article in The Times, the Lord Advocate at the time that charges were brought against Abdelbaset Megrahi and Lamin Fhimah for the destruction of Pan Am 103, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC, expresses his confidence in the evidence that led to the conviction of Megrahi. Here are excerpts:
'Lord Fraser does not discount the involvement of other states, but he points out that no definitive evidence has been produced to link them to the attack. The Libyans, on the other hand, were traced through the diligence of Scottish detectives, who managed to identify the manufacturers of clothing found in the suspect suitcase that had held the bomb. By proving that the clothing had been bought in Malta, and then establishing that the purchaser was al-Megrahi, they laid the foundations of the Crown case. “For me that was the most significant breakthrough,” Lord Fraser says now.'
'Tam Dalyell, the former MP, has argued that the CIA may have known about the attack beforehand. Lord Fraser rejects that. “I told Tam Dalyell: if there was a conspiracy, then I am in it up to the neck. I have to be involved. The only other possibility is that I have been so naive that bits of evidence have been planted, and I have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. But four other Lord Advocates have also examined the evidence and they have all concurred with it.”'
On the issue of the provenance of the MST-13 circuit board fragment which was crucial to the establishment of a link between Libya and the destruction of the aircraft, Lord Fraser hedges his bets somewhat:
'The discovery of a fragment of circuit board from a timer made by a Swiss company with links to Libya was critical to the prosecution. But accounts of how, where and by whom it was found varied. The original fragment was found several miles from the wreckage, and some weeks after the disaster.
'It was not until very much later that the CIA claimed to have identified it and matched it with a circuit board manufactured by Mebo of Zurich, a company run by Edwin Bollier, who had supplied timers to the Libyan Government. Some experts have argued that the find was just a bit too convenient to the US investigators, since, by targeting the Libyans, they could avoid falling out with Iran and Syria, important allies at the time of the Gulf War. So could the CIA have planted the evidence? “I don’t know,” says Lord Fraser. “No one ever came to me and said, ‘Now we can go for the Libyans’, it was never as straightforward as that. The CIA was extremely subtle. For me the significant evidence came when the Scottish police made the connection with Malta.” Pressed for his own view, he cites a Scottish murder case, that of Patrick Meehan, in which, it was alleged, the prosecution case had been “improved” by the planting of evidence. Was there a similarity? “I don’t know,” he said again, “but if there was one witness I was not happy about, it was Mr Bollier, who was deeply unreliable.”'