Tuesday 9 June 2015

Key Lockerbie witness was offered money, former Lord Advocate accepts

[This is the headline over an article published on this date in 2011 on the website of Scottish solicitors’ house magazine The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. It reads as follows:]

The Maltese shopkeeper whose evidence provided a crucial link in the conviction of Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing was offered substantial sums by the police, the Lord Advocate who signed the indictment against Megrahi has accepted.
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie is reported today to have been shown documents disclosing that Scottish police and the FBI discussed offering Tony Gauci "unlimited money", with an initial $10,000, for his testimony. Mr Gauci stated that Megrahi resembled the man who had bought clothes in his shop, remnants of which were linked with the suitcase which exploded in the Pan Am aircraft downed over the Scottish town in 1988. He also denied having been offered inducements.
The former Lord Advocate said such offers should never have happened and he was unaware of them at the time. He had warned the UK and American authorities that everything had to be "done by the book" if there was to be a trial in  Scottish or UK court.
Papers in the possession of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission reveal that Mr Gauci was treated to an expensive holiday in 1991 and that he and his brother each received large sums in reward money.
Megrahi's appeal against conviction following the SCCRC's report was abandoned when he was released on compassionate grounds because of terminal cancer.
[RB: A more detailed account can be read here; and my reaction to the story can be read here.]

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