Saturday, 2 May 2015

Found guilty by three Scottish judges who persuaded themselves...

[What follows is an excerpt from a column by Richard Ingrams published in The Independent on this date in 2009:]

There is never enough evidence

We are not looking for anyone else. That is the traditional response of the police when faced with the acquittal of men they are convinced were guilty all along. They were at it again this week when three men accused of assisting the 7 July suicide bombers were found not guilty. Andy Hayman, former commissioner of Special Operations at Scotland Yard, wrote of "a sense of bitter disappointment" at the acquittal of the men. And this he said was probably "the last throw of the dice". The police had done a very thorough investigation but the evidence was "not convincing enough".

The implication is clear. The men were almost certainly guilty. The police just didn't have the evidence to prove it. At no point was Hayman prepared to admit that they might just have been innocent. As it happened, the acquittal of the three men coincided with the reopening of an appeal case in a terrorist attack far more serious even than that of 7 July – the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 which resulted in the deaths of 270 people.

The Libyan convicted of the bombing, Mr Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, began an appeal in Scotland against his conviction in 2001. Megrahi did not have the benefit of a jury trial but was found guilty by three Scottish judges who persuaded themselves that he had put a bomb in a suitcase in Malta which went unaccompanied to Frankfurt where it was loaded on to another plane to Heathrow before being transferred on to Pan Am Flight 103 to the US and exploding over Scotland.

Should Megrahi's appeal succeed, it will be interesting to see if the Scottish police say that they are not looking for anyone else.

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