Thursday, 12 March 2020

Only a full court hearing will lead us to the truth on Lockerbie

[This is the headline over an article by Dr Jim Swire in today's edition of The Times.  It reads as follows:]

I am not a campaigning kind of guy by nature, nor a leader. What brought that out in me, and has led me to fight for justice for all these years, was a deep-seated anger. What caused that was my access to a warning that the British government had received in October 1988, two months before the bombing. It was from the West German authorities and said that they had detected a Syrian-based terrorist group constructing fully automatic bombs that were to be used against aircraft.

It said the bombs were designed to explode about 30 minutes after the plane had left the tarmac. A few weeks later, I got hold of a telex from the Department of Transport to Heathrow dated early December 1988. Addressed to security personnel, it said “where searchers cannot satisfy him or herself as to whether an image seen on [an] x-ray machine is satisfactory or not, it should be put in the aircraft hold”.

That took my breath away and left me furious. It led to the death of my daughter Flora, the day before her 24th birthday, and 269 others. I felt the loss of Flora’s life could not be left to be manipulated and lied about.

My hope now is what it has always been: that we get a fair playing field of a court and the circumstances of the disaster are fully examined. If that happens my belief is that the guilty verdict will be overturned and a new inquiry will have to find out why the earlier one went so wrong.

It is time for the truth. We deserve nothing less. I only hope I will remain on this planet long enough to see justice, finally, be done.

[RB: Regrettably, the SCCRC's decision to refer the Megrahi conviction back to the appeal court will not lead to the circumstances of the disaster being fully examined. The new appeal will be limited to the grounds accepted by the Commission, unless Megrahi's lawyers succeed in persuading the court to add additional items to the grounds of appeal, something that I anticipate the appeal court will be in the highest degree unlikely to accede to.

In a comment in today's edition of The Times Magnus Linklater writes that the Commission found "that the original trial reached the right verdict given the evidence available". This is wholly and utterly wrong. Here is what the SCCRC actually said:]

the Commission believes that ... a miscarriage of justice may have occurred because no reasonable trial court, relying on the evidence led at trial, could have held the case against Mr Megrahi was proved beyond reasonable doubt.

[It could hardly be clearer that the SCCRC is saying that, on the evidence led at Camp Zeist, the court reached the wrong verdict, indeed one that no reasonable court could have reached.]

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