Monday, 23 November 2015

No reasonable basis for its conclusion in trial court's judgment

[The evidence led at the Lockebie trial rendered it virtually certain that the items surrounding the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103 were bought in Malta on 23 November 1988 -- a date when Megrahi was not on the island -- and not on 7 December, when he was. Here is what I have previously written about this:]

From the 90 paragraph written judgement produced by the trial court (available on the Scottish Courts website it is clear that the court convicted Megrahi on the basis of the following nine factors. (...)

6. The purchases were made on 7 December 1988, a date when Megrahi was proved to be on Malta and not on 23 November 1988 when he was not.
Commentary. By reference to the dates on which international football matches were broadcast on television on Malta, Tony Gauci was able to narrow down the date of purchase of the items in question to either 23 November or 7 December. In an attempt to establish just which, the weather conditions in Sliema on these two days were explored. Gauci’s evidence was that when the purchaser left his shop it was raining to such an extent that his customer thought it advisable to buy an umbrella to protect himself while he went in search of a taxi. The unchallenged meteorological evidence led by the defence established that while it had rained on 23 November at the relevant time, it was unlikely that it had rained at all on 7 December; and if there had been any rain, it would have been at most a few drops, insufficient to wet the ground. On this material, the judges found in fact that the clothes were purchased on 7 December.

[And here is what the SCCRC had to say in its press release announcing that it had referred Megrahi’s conviction back to the High Court:]

A number of the submissions made on behalf of the applicant challenged the reasonableness of the trial court's verdict, based on the legal test contained in section 106(3)(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 [that, on the evidence, no reasonable court could have reached the conclusion that the trial court reached]. The Commission rejected the vast majority of those submissions. However, in examining one of the grounds, the Commission formed the view that there is no reasonable basis in the trial court's judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items from Mary's House, took place on 7 December 1988. Although it was proved that the applicant was in Malta on several occasions in December 1988, in terms of the evidence 7 December was the only date on which he would have had the opportunity to purchase the items. The finding as to the date of purchase was therefore important to the trial court's conclusion that the applicant was the purchaser. Likewise, the trial court's conclusion that the applicant was the purchaser was important to the verdict against him. Because of these factors the Commission has reached the view that the requirements of the legal test may be satisfied in the applicant's case.

1 comment:

  1. The verdict had all the characteristics of the typical poorly founded 'alternative theory' case.

    Some not incriminating but relevant truths
    Some poorly proven more incriminating assumptions, willingly accepted as near-certain facts.
    Disregard of conflicting evidence
    Disregard of other possible explanations, regardless of how likely they are

    Somebody adding it all together - "a real and convincing pattern" - to their certainty.