[This is the headline over a report (based on Reuters news agency material) that was published on the South African Independent Online website on this date in 2000. It reads as follows:]
An expert panel that advises the press on the trial of two Libyans accused of the 1988 Lockerbie aircraft bombing dropped one of its members on Tuesday following reports that he was a British intelligence agent.
The Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit, set up by Glasgow University's School of Law to give independent, impartial information on the legal dimensions of the trial, asked former diplomat Professor Andrew Fulton to stand down.
"The unit does not have the knowledge to comment on claims of (Fulton's) involvement with the security services," said Glasgow University. "However ... while Professor Fulton continues to attract media attention, the effectiveness of the work of the unit is likely to be jeopardised."
"In these circumstances, therefore, Professor Fulton is being asked to stand down from the group."
Fulton joined the panel in 1999 upon retiring from the Foreign Office after 31 years. British media reports said he was formerly a high-ranking officer of MI6, the foreign intelligence arm of British security, and could not give unbiased information about people Britain has accused of being "terrorists".
The panel had given hundreds of briefings on the trial of Libyans Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa, now on trial for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland and deaths of 270 people.
The trial is being held in Camp Zeist in the neutral Netherlands under Scottish law.
On Monday, the Scottish Daily Record cited Fulton, who co-ordinates the Lockerbie project and was a top official at the British Embassy in Washington before his retirement, as saying: "Whatever my diplomatic past, I am now part of this unit. We talk to the press strictly on legal aspects of the trial. There is no hidden agenda.
"Lockerbie never came up in my diplomatic career. I knew little about it until I came to Glasgow. If I did have an intelligence background, it would not be something I could give a straight answer to."
Media reports suggested Fulton was recruited to MI6 while completing a law degree at Glasgow University.