Wednesday 24 December 2014

The development of Tony Gauci’s statements

[Regarding the Lockerbie case, Frank Mulholland QC, the Lord Advocate, has recently stated: “During the 26-year-long inquiry not one Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised a concern about the evidence in this case.”  If this is so, then it is a truly shocking indictment of the Crown Office. The following section from Dr Kevin Bannon‘s PhD thesis, reproduced with his kind permission, demonstrates how grave the concerns should be about just one particular chapter of the evidence:]

The development of Tony Gauci’s statements from his first police interviews in September 1989 through to his testimony in court, reveal his recollections systematically developing in favour of the Crown narrative, in increasing contradiction of all his freshest recollections. This is transparently evident in the following compendium in which each subject of Gauci’s testimony in bold type is followed by actual or accepted facts summarised in italics, below which the essential statements are put chronologically:

1. Stature of the Purchaser:

The height and build of the purchaser. Al-Megrahi was 5’7” tall, average build.
1 September1989: ‘Six feet or more in height’ big chest, large head, well built.
26 September 1989: ‘around six feet or just under that in height’ and ‘broad built’.
11 July 2000 (Camp Zeist): ‘..below six feet’. ‘He wasn’t small. He was a normal stature’.

2. Purchase of clothing:

Slalom shirts. 2 Slalom shirts found at Lockerbie, one grey and one blue & white.
1 September 1989: No mention in statements of any shirts sold.
30 January 1990: ‘That man didn’t buy any shirts for sure’…‘I am sure I did not sell him a shirt’.
10 September 1990: I now remember that the man who bought the clothing also bought a beige ‘Slalom’ shirt and a blue and white striped shirt.’
11 July 2000 (Camp Zeist: asked ‘How many shirts did the Libyan buy?’): ‘Two’ shirts ‘Slalom, something Slalom’ one ‘blue checked’ and the other ‘greenish’. ‘It’s greenish and greyish. It’s more greyish…’

Pyjamas. 1 pair, striped, found at Lockerbie.
1 September 1989: ‘3 pair pyjamas’ (un-described).
11 July 2000: Did he buy any pairs of pyjamas? ‘Yes he did. He bought two pairs, striped’.

Cardigans. Fragments of 2 Cardigans found, one black and one brown.
1 September 1989: 1 cardigan (listed). Black and red colour.
11 July 2000: ‘..two pullovers.’ ‘They were cardigans.’ ‘One was blue, the other was a brownish colour’.

‘Babygro’ romper suit. Crash-site find had lamb’s head motif.
1 September 1989: Gauci said that the Babygro had a sheep’s face on the front.
13 September 1989: Gauci reiterated that the Babygro had a sheep’s head, even when shown the control sample with a lamb’s head, declaring that the sheep’s head design had been discontinued since he received it. Police subsequently established that the Babygro manufacturer had never produced a sheep’s head design.
4 October 1989: Gauci initially declared he was not sure about the sheep’s head design. Then said he was "fairly certain" that the Babygro sold to the purchaser had a lamb motif.

Payments for items sold. Gauci’s uncorroborated figures (in Maltese Pounds):
1 September 1989: Sale was £76.50, purchaser paid in £10 notes and received £4 change. Gauci later said the purchaser paid a total of £56 in cash.
19 September 1989: Second cardigan recollection; raises the sale to £88.
10 September 1990: Sale of 2 shirts raises Gauci’s recollected bill to £97 or £98.50.
11 July 2000: Purchaser gave him £80 for a total bill of £77.

3. Time and circumstances of purchase:

Rain. Meteorological evidence: 90% probability of no rain in Sliema on December 7.
1 September1989: ‘ was raining’.
21 February 1990: ‘it had almost stopped raining, and it was just drops coming down’.
10 September 1990: ‘very little rain on the ground, no running water, just damp’.
11 July 2000, (Camp Zeist): ‘ started dripping. Not very -- it was not raining heavily. It was simply -- it was simply dripping’.
11 July 2000: ‘It wasn't raining. It wasn't raining. It was just drizzling’.

Christmas lights/decorations. Decorations up and switched on 6 December 1988.
19 September 1989: ‘The decorations were not up when the man bought the clothes’.
10 September 1990: ‘There were no Christmas decorations up, as I have already said...’
11 July, 2000 (Camp Zeist): ‘..yes, there were Christmas lights. They were on already. I’m sure.

Date of purchase. Only December 7 fitted with al-Megrahi’s movements.
19 September 1989: ‘…I believe it…was at the end of November’.
8 October 1999 Precognition of Tony Gauci: ‘I remember it was the 29th of the month. I think it was November’. (Gauci recalled the date because he’d had a row with his girlfriend on that day).
11 July 2000 (Camp Zeist) : It must have been about a fortnight before Christmas. I don’t know whether it was a week or two weeks before Christmas’.

Second visit of Libyan customer. Al-Megrahi was not in Malta on September, 25 1989.
26 Sept 1989: Gauci said that the Libyan customer had returned to his shop the previous day (September 25) to buy dresses for a four-year-old child.
2 October 1989: (DCI Bell’s report of statement) Gauci said he was only 50% sure that the same Libyan had returned to the shop.
4 November 1991: Gauci said that the man who bought children’s dresses ‘really looked like’ [the purchaser]. Gauci seemed confused about the date of the visit.
18 March 1999 / 25 August 1999 (Precognition of Tony Gauci). Noted in DCI Bell’s words: ‘the man who bought the dresses looked like the purchaser but it was not the same person’.

Even minor details of Gauci’s testimony, including the collar sizes of shirts and the size of a jacket sold to the Libyan, drift consistently in favour of the Crown narrative.

It was not a secret that well before the Camp Zeist identification parade, Gauci had been exposed to newspaper articles featuring pictures of al-Megrahi including speculation about him as a suspect. In later SCCRC interviews, Gauci firstly admitted seeing the articles but could not recall specifics about them. Later he said that he could not recall seeing the articles at all, and later still he confirmed that he had not seen them - a transformation in the same, stepped fashion as most of his ‘recollections’ which at the very least, confirm his ineptitude as a witness.

Therefore, it is not merely the case (as has often been stated) that Gauci’s evidence was contradictory, but that in every aspect, it changed in favour of the Crown narrative, in some instances quite drastically. Gauci’s original, freshest recollections about the appearance of the Libyan purchaser and the time of his visit, would have, and should have, categorically eliminated al-Megrahi from suspicion.

Gauci’s testimony, the centrepiece of the case against al-Megrahi and, by implication, the principal Libyan connection to the crime, simply has no integrity whatsoever - nevertheless he was given a substantial financial reward for his latter evidence. These discrepancies render the entire case against al-Megrahi invalid. Of course this means that the considerable body of Camp Zeist testimony implicating al-Megrahi, such as the testimony of Majid Giaka, is false.


  1. Living with the "Lockerbie Affair", 2014. Facts:

    The day after December 7, December 8, 1988 was an official public holiday (Feast of the Immaculate Conception)
    and the "Mary's House" was closed. Gauci could not remember at a public holiday after the visite of the alleged clothes buyer!

    As example, the day after November 23, November 24, was not an official public holiday, "Mary' s House" was open, as Gauci remembered precisely.
    Public Holidays in Malta are regulated in terms of the National Holidays and Other Public Holidays Act (Chapter 252) of the Laws of Malta.

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  2. Although the reward payments do bring into question the credibility of Tony Gauci’s evidence, I suppose in such a high profile case a witness would want to be rewarded so they can hide away afterwards.

    And the brothers were rewarded well for Tony Gauci’s evidence and ironically the amount reflects how poor that evidence was.

    This is because for such a high reward it is difficult to see him, ‘beyond a death bed conversion’ changing his mind and telling the truth that he just made it up as required.

    And for this reason I suspect the brothers have/will be given more money if it starts to run out!

  3. Since August 1990, definitely a wrong date was created (7th of December, 1988) in order to accuse deliberately the libyan official Mr. Abdelbaset al Megrahi as the buyer of the cloths in "Mary's House".

    A further proof from MEBO that the sale of dresses in Anhony Gauci "Mary's House" took undoubtedly place on Wednesday, 23th of November 1988 by a supposedly Libyan buyer:

    Tony Gauci told Bollier on 25.01.2008 in Malta, that the 2 pieces of pyjamas, label "John Mallia", were the last "two" pyjamas he had sold to a Libyan in his shop. On the other day, the 24th of November 1988, Gauci by phon ordered at the company "John Mallia" additionally 8 pieces of the same pyjamas. The 8 pyjamas were delivered on the 25th of November 1988 with the calculation/delivery note, dated 25th of November 1988 to Gauci' s Mary' s House at Sliema Malta. Prod. 477-1.

    The day after Wednesday, December 7, December 8, 1988 was an official public holiday (Immaculate Conception Day) and the "John Mallia" company was closed. But the day after November 23, November 24, 1988 was not an official public holiday, the company "John Mallia" was open.
    Justice For Al-Megrahi and Libya, both had nothing whatsoever to do with the Pan Am 103" Tragedy in Lockerbie !...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  4. To be fair to Frank Mulholland (I know, I know), it's possible he was referring to fabrication and/or planting of evidence when he made that remark. The persistent allegations of evidence-tampering provide an easy straw man for the Crown to attack. No matter how strong the suspicions, nothing has ever been proved to have been planted by anyone involved with the investigation, or indeed planted at all. Bizarrely, the closer you look at the provenance of PT/35b, the more it looks as if it really was on Hayes's lab bench on 12th May 1989 and the paperwork was just a monumental foul-up.

    So he may have been saying that nobody within the investigation ever expressed concern that a particular item of evidence wasn't genuine. Even that isn't quite true because one of two people have mentioned vague doubts, but it's a more reasonable thing to say than what most people are assuming he meant.

  5. You know, given all that lot above (which is beautifully collated and presented but which nevertheless represents information available to the defence at the time and which should have been fairly obvious), together with the complementary presentations in the three expert witness reports prepared for the second appeal which deal with the psychology of facial recognition of a stranger see once for a short time in unthreatening circumstances, it beggars belief that the defence in 2000 failed to challenge Gauci in any serious fashion. Trying to trip Tony up in the witness box would probably have been unproductive, at least on its own, but why oh why was there no attempt to call an expert witness or two to rip his dodgy story to shreds in a systematic manner?

    One other point related to the above, brought out by one of the expert witness reports. If Tony at first believed the man had returned to his shop less than a year later, but then he wasn't sure and then it wasn't him at all (and I believe there was a similar story in respect of someone he saw in a bar), what does that say about his real ability to recognise the man? If he was so unsure even in 1989, how is it possible to have any confidence in his (again tentative and qualified) "identification" in 1999?

    Sometimes I wonder if the suspicions that the defence team was at some level playing for the other side might have some truth in them.