Monday, 11 January 2016

Lockerbie case 'unproven'

[This is the headline over a report on this date in 2001 on the BBC News website. It reads as follows:]

The judges hearing the case against two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing have been told it would be "unreasonable and unsafe" to convict them.

The accused have alleged that Palestinian terrorists carried out the bombing, and Bill Taylor QC, for the defence, said the prosecution had failed to dismiss that possibility.

As he made his closing submission at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands, he said it would have been an "extraordinary coincidence" if Palestinian terrorists based in Germany had not planted the bomb which blew up Pan Am flight 103.

Mr Taylor, representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, pointed the finger at a cell of the Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine - General Command.

He said: "Whilst the defence cannot prove responsibility it can show the court that there is some relevant information which points away from the Crown theory and the alleged guilt of the two accused.

"The PFLP-GC German terror cell had access to similar, but not identical, Toshiba radios which experts believed contained the Pan Am bomb, and a raid on their base discovered they had stocks of different kinds of trigger devices.

He added: "There would still need to be an extraordinary coincidence that a group using such material in such a way in October 1988 in Germany was not responsible for the bombing of a flight which passed through Germany two months later."

Mr Taylor said that, before the court could find the two men guilty, it would need to dismiss that coincidence.

He told the judges: "It would be unreasonable and unsafe to take that course."

Once Mr Taylor completes his case, Mr Richard Keen QC, defending Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, will also insist his client is innocent and urge the judges to acquit.

On Tuesday the Crown dropped two of the three charges faced by the Libyans.

They had been initially charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and contravening the aviation security acts.

Now they face one charge of mass murder on 21 December, 1988.

On Wednesday prosecutors closed their case and said the evidence before the court demonstrated that the accused were responsible for the outrage.

But the Crown case closed with an admission that it was not known how the suitcase containing the bomb which destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 was placed on board the ill-fated Boeing 747.

Advocate depute Alistair Campbell QC said it was not essential to say how the bomb had got on board.

The judges on the panel are expected to retire for about a week before delivering their verdict to the court at Camp Zeist.


  1. The defence were allowed to put forward an alternative Who, based on an alleged coincidence, but not an alternative What, despite the Crown not knowing how the alleged IED was put on the plane and with only a fake fragment as evidence that one was!

    1. Some considerable time ago I announced that no further comments from Dave would be accepted on this blog. Foolishly, over the past day or so I have allowed three to appear (of which this is the third). There will be no more. The assertion that the fragment is the only evidence of an IED on the plane is quite simply nonsense, as Rolfe, among others, has pointed out. Dave, however, is incorrigible. From now on he can be incorrigible elsewhere.

    2. Thank God fasting.

      I'm happy to explain the physical evidence of the IED explosion to anyone who is interested, as often as necessary. However, Dave is only interested in repeating his own, demonstrably wrong take on things, and after a while it gets very boring.

  2. Perhaps Dave would like to go away and commune with Little Grew Rabbit, a.k.a. His Grey Eminence, who thinks the plane was accidentally shot down by a stray British surface-to-air (or air-to-air) missile, and all the evidence of an IED was faked. I'm sure they'd get on splendidly. LGR has a far more entertaining and inventive scenario for how this fakery might have been accomplished than anything Dave ever dreamed up.

    1. That should be Little Grey Rabbit, of course.