Saturday 29 October 2016

Death of Tony Gauci announced

[What follows is the text of a report that has just appeared on the Times of Malta website:]

Tony Gauci's death means mystery might remain unresolved

Tony Gauci, the Maltese man who determined the outcome of the Lockerbie trial, has died,Times of Malta is informed.

Mr Gauci, who lived in Swieqi, is believed to have died of natural causes.

He had pointed at Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as the man who had bought the clothes from his Sliema shop, which were said to have been wrapped around aircraft which killed 270 people over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

This evidence tied together the prosecution's thesis, that the bomb loaded on to the doomed Pan Am flight at Heathrow Airport had first left from Malta before being transferred via Frankfurt. But serious doubts were raised about Mr Gauci’s testimony over the years.

Libyan national Al-Megrahi died in 2012 with the tag 'the Lockerbie bomber’ despite the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission had described Mr Gauci as an “unreliable” witness, putting the onus of the responsibility of the UK’s worst terrorist attack in doubt.

The SCCRC said the Crown prosecution suppressed from Megrahi’s defence team statements showing how much Gauci changed his mind about crucial details over the years.

Documents published later had revealed that the lead investigator in the Lockerbie bombing personally lobbied US authorities to pay Mr Gauci and his brother Paul at least $3 million for their part in securing the conviction of Al-Megrahi.

Mr Gauci never spoke publicly about the case and maintained the media silence that characterised his role in the whole affair. He was last approached for comment for an edition of Times Talk in November 2013.

Mr Gauci's death signals the end of a key witness to a case which continues being fought legally by relatives of victims who believe Mr Al-Megrahi was innocent.


  1. What a disgrace Scots Justice is turning into when lead investigators bribe witnesses.
    We have seen over the years how high profile cases like Campbell and Steele the Scottish police often drop serious charges against lead witnesses and blackmail witnesses.
    Granger said in court the police beat a confession out of him and threatened his girlfriend to get him to sign a false confession so not really surprised to hear Gauci was bribed to give false evidence

  2. Fate brought him into this, and he played the the difficult game: how can I get the money, without lying too much.

    No, Megrahi was not the man "about 50 and six feet in height" he saw in his shop, but as time went by Guaci adjusted his statements in Megrahi's disfavor.

    Some adjustments are so blatant that "laughable" is the correct term. Impressive to recall the items, piece by piece, and even their price and the total.
    Less impressive it is to leave out the shirt, first stating that he definitely didn't sell a shirt, and then later certainly remembering it.

    With the honesty that lives somewhere deep inside us all (in some deeper than in others), he gave correct statements in the beginning, and resisted the blatant lie "It was him!" all along the way.

    Shame on him for not being honest and stating the opposite "Frankly, guys, it was not him"?

    Maybe, but just how strong is our mind, being presented with the chance of the big win? Experiments in psychology shows how willing we are to lie to ourselves.

    The combination of (subconscious) arguments would have been numerous:
    - I am not lying when I say he "resembles" him. I am not to blame for what people make out of that statement.
    - Maybe it was him, and I am just confused? Why not? I have been wrong before. Should I let that confusion stand in the way of the conviction of a mass murderer?
    - He will probably be convicted anyway - the only difference is that if I say "It's not him" I will get nothing out of all this.
    - The Libyans - those bad guys - have done so much and gotten away with it. Let them pay for once.

    Whatever. How many of us would have delivered the selfless honesty that would have been the only impeccable behavior?

    I think Megrahi would have forgiven Guaci.

    It is much, much harder to forgive the judges that accepted what I believe must be the the poorest witness in modern trial history as sufficient proof that Megrahi bought the clothes in the bomb suitcase.