Sunday 18 October 2015

Abu Talb and Lockerbie

[What follows is an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2009:]

Lockerbie "suspect" freed
[This is the headline over a short report (which does not seem to feature on the newspaper's website) in today's Scottish edition of The Mail on Sunday. It reads as follows:]

A terrorist who many believe carried out the Lockerbie bombing has been freed from jail in Sweden.

Mohammed Abu Talb ... was released less than three weeks after Addelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the atrocity, was released from prison in Scotland.

Talb has served 20 years of a life term in his adopted country for a series of bombings in Amsterdam and Copenhagen in 1985, which killed one and injured dozens.

The Palestinian terrorist is thought to have had the backing, finance, equipment and contacts to have downed the Pan Am jet in 1988.

As he was a key witness in the trial of Megrahi, the Crown Office says Talb has immunity from prosecution.

[If the Crown Office did indeed say this, it is -- once again -- in error as to the law of Scotland. A Crown witness gains immunity from prosecution only if he is called as an accomplice to give evidence against those involved with him in the crime charged. Talb was not called by the Crown in this capacity. He had been named by the two Libyan accused as the person who, acting for a Palestinian group, was really responsible for the destruction of Pan Am 103. The Crown called him to obtain a denial of this. He was not called as an accomplice of the Libyans.

The law on the subject of the extent and limits of the immunity from prosecution of Crown witnesses is clearly set out in the 5-judge case of O'Neill v Wilson 1983 SCCR 265.]

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