Monday, 30 January 2017

Appeal court asked to hear Heathrow break-in evidence

[What follows is excerpted from a report published on the BBC News website on this date in 2002:]

The lawyer acting for the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has asked a special appeal court in the Netherlands to consider new evidence. (...)

[O]n Wednesday - the fifth day of the appeal - Bill Taylor QC said the new evidence concerned the forcing of a padlock at the secure baggage area at Heathrow Airport.

He told the five appeal court judges at Camp Zeist that if the evidence had been available at the original trial it would have supported defence claims that the bomb could have got on to the doomed Pan-Am jumbo jet in London.

The conviction was crucially based on arguments that the device had been planted at Malta before passengers, destined for New York, flew on to their next stop in London.

The court also heard that at least 14 unaccompanied bags travelled on a feeder flight for the Pan Am plane which exploded over Lockerbie.

Mr Taylor said his Libyan client had suffered a miscarriage of justice as a result of the judges' failure to deal with the issue of the 14 bags.

The bags were carried on board Pan Am flight 103A to Heathrow, where passengers were transferred to the New York-bound flight 103, Mr Taylor said.

The three judges who heard the original Lockerbie trial decided that Al Megrahi placed an unaccompanied bag containing a bomb on board a flight from Malta to Frankfurt.

The bag then travelled on flight 103A to London where it was loaded onto flight 103.

[RB: The court, over the objections of the Crown, allowed the evidence to be heard, but ultimately concluded that it could not be regarded as possessing such importance as to have been likely to have had a material bearing on the trial court’s determination of the critical issue of whether the suitcase containing the bomb was launched on its progress from Luqa Airport in Malta (an essential plank in the prosecution case) or from Heathrow. This ground of appeal was accordingly unsuccessful.]

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