[On this date in 1999, Abdelbaset Megrahi took part in an identification parade at Camp Zeist. The Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci picked him out with the words “Not exactly the man I saw in the shop 10 years ago, but the man who look a little bit like exactly is the number 5". The trial judges were satisfied on this evidence (and a somewhat similarly qualified courtroom identification) that Gauci had identified Megrahi as the purchaser of the clothes that accompanied the bomb in the brown Samsonite suitcase. This “identification” would have been seriously challenged had Megrahi’s second appeal not been abandoned.
What follows is excerpted from an article in the Scottish Sunday Express on 21 August 2011:]
A dossier for Megrahi’s appeal – which was dropped days before his release – claims the ID parade in April 1999 “fell short of what was fair”. Gauci, who sold clothing that was later packed in a suitcase with the bomb, said he could not be sure if any of the men were the same individual who had visited his shop a decade earlier.
Eventually, he picked out Megrahi as the one who “looked a little bit like exactly” the purchaser.
The report claims the parade was carried out after “an extraordinary length of time” using “stand-ins” who were not “sufficiently similar”.
It also points out that Megrahi’s photograph had been widely published. Police reports from the parade are described as “incomplete and confusing”.
Professor Steven Clark, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, states: “At no time did [Gauci] ever clearly and definitively assert that Mr. Megrahi was the man who came into his store.
“Rather, in each identification procedure, he stated that Mr. Megrahi was ‘similar’ or ‘resembled’ the man.”
Another eyewitness identification expert, Professor Tim Valentine, of Goldsmiths University of London, said: “I do have concern of the quality of the identification evidence. I wouldn’t want to be convicted on identification evidence of that quality.”
Scottish campaigner Iain McKie, a member of the Justice for Megrahi committee, added: “The identification process of Megrahi was totally and utterly flawed and wrong. Yet the conviction rests on that identification. The whole process was rotten.”