Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The guilty verdict was unreasonable

[What follows is excerpted from an article by John Ashton headed Eight inconvenient truths about Lockerbie, which the media and authorities are ignoring:]

The prosecution case, which was accepted by the Scottish judges who convicted Mr Megrahi, was that on the morning of 21 December 1988, while travelling under a false name, he managed to smuggle a brown Samsonite suitcase containing a bomb onto an Air Malta flight from Malta to Frankfurt. An expert in airline security and alleged senior intelligence officer, Megrahi was said to have labelled the case for onward transfer to Pan Am flight 103A from Frankfurt to London Heathrow and Pan Am 103 from Heathrow to New York.
He supposedly bought clothes for the suitcase at a small Maltese shop called Mary’s House on an earlier visit to the island on 7 December. The shopkeeper, Tony Gauci, who was the prosecution’s star witness, told the court that Mr Megrahi resembled the man who had bought the clothes. The Malta link was confirmed by baggage records from Frankfurt airport, which appeared to show that a suitcase from the Air Malta flight had been forwarded to Pan Am 103. (...)
3. It’s official – the court judgment was unreasonable
In 2007, following a four-year review of the case, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (the official body responsible for examining alleged miscarriages of justice) referred Mr Megrahi’s conviction to the appeal court on no fewer than six grounds. He abandoned the appeal in 2009 when terminally ill with cancer in the belief that it would help smooth the way for his release from prison on compassionate grounds.
Crucially, one of the SCCRC’s six grounds was that there was no “reasonable foundation” for the crucial finding that he bought the clothes on 7 December 1988, which was his only window of opportunity. Why did the commission reach this conclusion? Because Mr Gauci was clear that, as he was leaving the shop, the clothes purchaser bought an umbrella because it had started to rain. Yet meteorological evidence heard by the court demonstrated that there was no rain on 7 December. If Mr Megrahi didn’t buy the clothes on 7 December, the prosecution case collapses, so the SCCRC had come as close as it legally could to saying that the guilty verdict itself was unreasonable.

No comments:

Post a Comment