[What follows is the text of an article published in The Times on this date in 2009:]
An independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing was called for last night by a leading human rights lawyer.
Gareth Peirce, who has represented a string of high-profile victims of miscarriage of justice, said that the forensic evidence on which the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, was convicted was flawed.
The finding itself was “very, very worrying” and based the same kind of discredited forensic science that was at the heart of several notable miscarriages of justice in the ‘70s and ‘80s, she said.
“The [Lockerbie] case was founded on twin pillars: one, that al-Megrahi was linked to a charred fragment of a bomb timer; and second, his identification was ‘claimed’ by a man who could not be sure of his evidence.
“Has everyone forgotten the lessions learned of flawed scientified evidence and identification?
“The point being made by the families over 20 years is that they want to know the cause of the Lockerbie diaster. And at every turn, limitations have been put on their ability to discover it.”
Ms Peirce, who in a career spanning 30 years has acted for the Guildford Four, Birmingham Six and families of the Marchioness river boat disaster, was speaking at a special event in London attended by campaigners and experts including Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was among the 270 killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie.
She said that there had been a Fatal Accident Inquiry in [1990/91], which was limited to the immediate cause of the explosion so as not to prejudice future prosecutions, she said.
Some 15 years later there was the prosecution in the Hague of two Libyans, where the family could only be present and observe. But there had never been a “proper explanation of what they want to hear.”
But a UN assessor appointed to the trial had been scathing of the judges’ verdict, she added, and of the “atmosphere of political interference that permeated the trial”.