[What follows is a commentary by Peter Biddulph on the Crown's response to Dr John Wyatt's findings as disclosed in the recent Newsnight segment.]
The recent Crown statement regarding the John Wyatt tests needs to be exposed for what it is: - an attempt to confuse the uninformed with carefully placed words such as "fragments of circuit boards" and "fragment".
The statement includes:
1. "It was reported in the BBC Newsnight Programme [6th January 2010] that tests carried out by Dr Wyatt suggest that the fragment was unlikely to have survived the mid-air explosion and that the radio used in his tests 'totally disintegrated' and 'went into tiny, tiny bits'. In fact, extensive explosive tests were carried out in the United States in 1989, some time before the fragment PT35B was extracted by forensic experts, as part of the Lockerbie investigation. …."
COMMENT: The Indian Head tests took place in April 1989, three weeks before the bomb "fragment" was discovered for the first time by Dr Thomas Hayes on 12th May 1989.
At the time of the Indian Head tests, neither Thurman or Feraday were aware of the existence of the Hayes fragment, nor of its possible link to an MEBO MST-13 timer board.
They were not tests of the survivability of any kind of bomb trigger timer board, but to establish the location of the primary suitcase and the amount of explosive used.
No mention has ever been made by Thurman or Feraday to fragment survivability testing as part of the Indian Head tests.
2. The Crown statement continues: "After a number of test explosions, a detailed search was made and circuit board fragments … were all recovered in a condition which was consistent with the debris recovered in relation to the Lockerbie disaster."
COMMENT: An aircraft body contains many printed circuit boards. Test explosions of any part of an aircraft body will therefore produce many circuit board fragments.
Note the use of the terms "consistent with" and "fragments". An uninformed reader - including an uninformed journalist such as Dave Cowan of STV, or even an uninformed lawyer - will naturally conclude a link to the next Crown paragraph:-
3. "The forensic evidence placed before the court included evidence about the appearance of 'the fragment.' And the fact that when it was recovered, it was embedded within a fragment from a blast-damaged grey Slalom brand shirt, which had been found in Newcastleton, Roxburghshire on 13th January 1989 ..."
COMMENT: The fragment was not found on 13th January 1989. The shirt collar containing it was found on that day and entered on the evidence log by DC Gilchrist under the identification "CLOTH".
It would take another four months before the fragment was discovered, well after the completion of the Indian Head tests. It was found by Dr Thomas Hayes on 12th May 1989.
At the trial, under cross-examination, Hayes insisted in reply to two specific questions from Richard Keen QC that it was embedded deep within the shirt collar, and that the police could not have been aware of it prior to his finding.
The Indian Head tests, as far as the Hayes fragment is concerned, are an irrelevance.
Either the writers of the Crown statement haven't done their homework, or they've been seriously misled by FBI misinformation. Probably a combination of both.