Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Location of bomb suitcase

[What follows is the text of Glasgow University’s Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit’s report of proceedings at Camp Zeist on 31 May 2000:]

The main evidence related to the location of the device said to have been located in the baggage container [AVE 4041]. Air accident investigators indicated that the container had been destroyed by a 'high energy event' - probably an explosion. The thrust of their evidence was that such a device could not have been on the container floor. The emphasis of defence cross-examination was that it was possible that any device could have been on the floor. The location of the device is crucial to the Crown case, as if the suitcase in which it was allegedly contained was on the floor, then it could not have been loaded in Malta.

The main Crown witness was Professor Christopher Peel, who had created a scientific model by which he claimed to be able to determine the exact size and location of the device. His evidence was challenged in two ways. First it was suggested that he had earlier espoused a different model and had changed his version of the facts to fit his new theory. His response was that he had not done so consciously, and that the model he ultimately applied was the most appropriate. Secondly, his calculations were the subject of a sustained assault with a view to suggesting he had fallen into error. He maintained that they were accurate.

It should be noted that it is quite common in criminal trials for counsel for the defence to attack the evidence of key experts for the Crown in terms of the soundness of the scientific basis for their theories, and/or the accuracy of the application of the scientific criteria to the facts.

1 comment:

  1. The bomb was on the floor of the container of course. The proof of that is childishly simple, needing only straightforward common-sense deduction of where each suitcase was loaded into the container in the interline shed, and then examining the pattern of damage to these suitcases. A moderately intelligent schoolboy could do it.

    Instead they engaged people like Professor Peel to indulge in complicated mathematical reconstructions that few people could follow. It's difficult to counter the suspicion that the entire purpose of Professor Peel's work, and indeed the explosive tests in the USA, was not to discover where the bomb suitcase was located, but to provide support for the pre-determined comclusion that it was not on the bottom layer.