November 25 2020 — A third appeal on behalf of the Libyan man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has started at the High Court in Edinburgh. The appeal is being conducted via video link and is expected to last several days with a decision to be delivered at a later date. The first day was utterly boring. Nothing happened whatsoever. The second day was even worse. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
QUICK NOTES — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of my book, I have created a special page “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog.
On March 11 2020, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission [SCCRC] decided to refer the Lockerbie case back to the High Court of Justiciary for determination. As a result of the Commission’s decision, Mr. Megrahi’s family was therefore entitled to instruct an appeal against his conviction. The first procedural hearing took place on Friday August 21 2020. The Appeal date is set to November 24 2020.
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
The five judges are: Lord Carloway, Lady Dorian, Lord Menzies, Lord Glennie, and Lord Woolman.
The Advocates are: Gordon Jackson, QC, Claire Mitchell QC (Defence) and Ronny Clancy QC (Prosecution).
RELATED POST: Lockerbie Third Appeal — Day 1 (November 24 2020)
Day 2 (November 25 2020)
10.45 — Proceedings begin.
Claire Mitchell QC continues her submissions on behalf of the defence, as she is going through the details of various identification evidence.
Mitchell notes that the original Court ruled the identification evidence was “resemblance identification.”
“The circumstances in which that dock identification was made was highly prejudicial.
The identification was made shortly after he had seen a photograph which he had of course seen before, of an article suggesting that Mr Megrahi may have been the bomber and the court will know that the photograph itself,
I think the wording of it is who planted the Lockerbie bomb and underneath there is a photograph of the appellant (Megrahi).
So I would respectfully submit that in this case the dock identification is virtually of no value.“
Ms Mitchell said that evidence in relation to identification was of “poor quality” and said that photographs could not give an idea of someone’s build and height.
11.50 — The court takes a short break.
12.15 — Proceedings resume.
Claire Mitchell QC is ending her submission on the identification evidence against the appellant.
Mitchell concludes: “This evidence cannot support the weight of a conviction.”
She asks the court to set aside the previous verdict.
14.40 — The court takes a break.
15.00 — Gordon Jackson QC rises to present the next defence submissions in the case.
Jackson says his issue is one of disclosure, documents that, he says, should have been given to the defence before the first trial.
On occasions, the “Crown have missed that point entirely,” he says.
The first document Jackson’s raises quotes a witness against Al-Megrahi was “frustrated,” at not being financially compensated for his evidence.
The disclosure of this document, Jackson says, would have led to other documents in which the witness was said to have, ‘shown interest in getting money’.
According to another document:
‘The issue of financial remuneration has not been discussed with witnesses. They understood this could not be discussed while the case was live.”
However Jackson notes that:
“Everyone and their auntie knew there would be a reward from the Americans.”
Counsel says this shows an “expectation that the money was on the horizon.”
Jackson says that the Crown cannot decide in hindsight that a particular piece of evidence would have had no effect on a jury.
Jackson argues that possession of the document would have allowed the defence to challenge the credibility of the identification witness.
“I simply cannot understand the suggestion that if you had actual evidence of a financial interest defence counsel wouldn’t have used it.
It would have changed the dynamic of the situation… It would have been another world.”
16.00 — Jackson ends his submission.
Advocate Depute Ronny Clancy QC begins his response on behalf of the Crown.
“Appellant has not met the statutory tests required to quash the conviction,” Clancy tells the court.
16.15 — Court rises. Proceedings to resume at 10.30 tomorrow.
Intel Today Analysis
Megrahi is clearly NOT the mysterious purchaser of the clothes ‘found’ in the primary suitcase. But does it matter to the case?
According to the 2020 SCCRC statement:
“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.”
Thirteen years after the first review, the SCCRC reached the same conclusion based on the same analysis of the very same irrefutable facts: the date of the purchase and the identity of the purchaser.
So, does it matter that Megrahi was, or not, the purchaser of the clothes in Malta?
According to the SCCRC two reports (2007 & 2020), the identity of the purchaser is a critical part of the guilty verdict.
If the judges had not concluded that Megrahi bought the clothes in Gauci’s shop, he may not have been convicted.
However… Pay attention to the words of the SCCRC 2020 report: “relying on the evidence led at trial”.
It seems that the SCCRC has already been paving the way for the Crown to reveal new evidence against Megrahi that could not have been disclosed 20 years ago.
Did you ever wonder who decided to leak the CIA Minerva files [About CIA interception of Libyan diplomatic cables] earlier this year? And why?
I expect that the judges will unanimously uphold the guilty verdict. In the end, this appeal will do more harm than good.
Court reporter James Doleman — Tweeter
Lockerbie Third Appeal — Day 2 (November 25 2020)