Friday, 17 March 2017

Demand for more Lockerbie papers

[This is the headline over a report published on the BBC News website on this date in 2009. It reads in part:]

Judges have ordered prosecutors to hand over more undisclosed documents they may have concerning a crucial witness at the trial of the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdel Baset Al Megrahi's lawyers went to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh seeking further material for the appeal against his conviction. (...)

The Crown said it believed it had already handed over all the documents sought by the defence.

The material being sought includes records, logs, notes and police computer entries concerning a sighting by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci of a clothes buyer in September 1989.

Mr Gauci gave evidence at the trial at Kamp Zeist in the Netherlands that the purchaser looked a lot like Megrahi.

The clothing was packed into a suitcase with the bomb.

The material wanted by defence lawyers also includes any documents on a meeting between police and Mr Gauci and an interview held with him.

It further includes material over aspects of an ID parade held at Zeist in April 1999, attended by Mr Gauci, at which Megrahi was paraded.

In the grounds of appeal lodged on behalf of Megrahi, those relating to the evidence of Mr Gauci run to almost 150 pages.

More documentation is also sought of contact between police and other investigators with a potential witness, David Wright.

Mr Wright did not give evidence at Megrahi's trial but it is said he "may have material evidence to give bearing on the identification of the appellant as the purchaser of goods associated with the Lockerbie incident".

The Lord Justice General, Lord Hamilton, said: "Without expressing any view on the adequacy of the steps already taken by the Crown to satisfy the claims for recovery, we consider that the appropriate course at this stage is to identify the classes of document which, if they exist, the appellant is in our judgement entitled to recover."

Lord Hamilton, sitting with Lord Kingarth and Lord Eassie, said: "The Advocate General has not yet scrutinised all the material on behalf of the United Kingdom Government.

"It is possible that objections, based on legal privilege, might yet be made on the part of other governments or agencies.

"The order which we shall pronounce will be subject to due consideration of any such objections."

Megrahi's case was referred back to the appeal court by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which was set up to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

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