On This Day — Lockerbie Judges Under the Weather (Malta – December 7 1988) [2020]

Q: Do you remember what the weather was like when the man came to the shop?

A: When he came by… It wasn’t raining. But then it started dripping, not very much. It was not raining heavily. It was simply — it was simply dripping, but as a matter of fact, he did take an umbrella…

Q: Did he?

A: He bought an umbrella.

The Lockerbie Trial Transcripts — Page 4741

“There is no reasonable basis in the trial court’s judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items [clothes that were found in the wreckage of the plane] from Mary’s House [in Malta] took place on 7 December 1988.”

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission

Tony Gauci — Lord Fraser described the Maltese shopkeeper whose testimony was central in securing a conviction against Abdelbasset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, as “not quite the full shilling” and “an apple short of a picnic”. In 2008 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC Ref 23:19) found that US$2 million had been paid to Tony Gauci and US$1 million to Paul Gauci under the US Department of Justice “Rewards for Justice” programme.

December 7 2020 — The trial court’s judgment concluded that the purchase of the items [clothes that were found in the wreckage of the plane] from Mary’s House [in Malta] took place on December 7 1988. The date was crucial as Megrahi is known to have been on the island that day. There is one problem. That date is obviously wrong!  Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — The Eyewitness Evidence Against Megrahi by Pr Elizabeth Loftus

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — The Eyewitness Evidence Against Megrahi : Exclusive Q&A with Professor Tim Valentine

RELATED POST: Lockerbie Case Review — Key Witness Tony Gauci Was Unreliable

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.

Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

UPDATE (December 7 2020) — 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. 

RELATED POST: Lockerbie Third Appeal — Day 1 (November 24 2020)

RELATED POST: Lockerbie Third Appeal — Day 2 (November 25 2020)

RELATED POST: Lockerbie Third Appeal — Day 3 (November 26 2020)

The first procedural hearing took place on Friday August 21 2020. The Appeal started on November 24 2020 and ended 3 days later. The five judges will now retire in private and produce a written submission as soon as practicable. 

The date of the purchase and the weather on that day were discussed by Claire Mitchell QC during the first day of the recent appeal.

Mitchell statements were vague and she obviously repeated the evidence led by Major Joseph Mifsud despite the existence of far more relevant evidence easily available.

INTEL TODAY would like to know what you think. Please, take this poll and encourage your friends to participate.

END of UPDATE

In a recent book, Former Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill had written that:

“clothes in the suitcase that carried the bomb were acquired in Malta, though not by Megrahi…”

Allow me to explain this story.

On November 18, 1991, the US Dept. of State issued a “fact sheet” regarding the indictment of Libyan citizens Megrahi and Fimah for their alleged role in the bombing of Pan Am 103 on December 21, 1988.

The sheet reads: In February 1991, Megrahi was described “resembling the Libyan who purchased the clothing items… most likely on December 7, 1988.”

Regarding the day of the purchase, Tony Gauci remembered that his brother Paul had gone home earlier to watch an evening football game (Rome vs. Dresden), that the man came just before closing time, around 7 p.m., and that there was some very light raining. (The man returned to the shop to buy an umbrella.)

The game allows for only two dates: November 23 or December 7, 1988.

The game Rome-Dresden on December 7 was played at 1 p.m., not in the evening. As a result, Paul Gauci thought that the purchases had occurred on November 23, 1988. [There is no evidence Megrahi was in Malta on that day.]

In March 2009, Mark Vella, the managing director of METEO MALTA, told me that their records “unambiguously indicate” that it did not rain in Sliema on December 7, 1988. Vella added that it was dripping during the evening of November 23, 1988.

“I can confirm there was light rainfall from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 23, 1988 as can be seen from our official weather log book of Balzan, Vella told me.

“There was definitely no rain on Dec. 7 and although I cannot be 100 percent sure it most likely did not rain in Sliema either on that day as they are only a few kilometers apart.

I have proof of this from the weather log book and also satellite images.”

Tony Gauci claimed the Christmas lights were not lit in the Maltese city of Sliema when Megrahi allegedly bought clothes from his shop.

When asked to try to assess the most likely day of the purchase by DCI Bell, Tony Gauci stated:

“I’ve been asked to again try and pinpoint the day and date that I sold the man the clothing. I can only say it was a weekday.

There were no Christmas decorations up, as I have already said, and I believe it was at the end of November.”

Michael Refalo, a former tourism minister in Malta and a former high commissioner in London, said he had lit them on December 6 1988 and an entry in his diary confirms that he did so at 5:30 pm. Again, this obviously rules out the December 7 date.

“Tony Gauci did not spontaneously mention the Christmas lights in his first statement. It is possible that his statement in court was influenced by the officers suggestion during subsequent questioning that the lights may have been lit. Based on Tony Gauci’s response when first questioned about the Christmas lights, his account would support the 23rd November. In dating the memory I think the weather records are far more important.”

Psychology Professor Tim Valentine (Email to Intel Today)

However, at the trial, Tony Gauci stated the Christmas lights were lit when Megrahi allegedly bought clothes from his shop.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission concluded:

“There is no reasonable basis in the trial court’s judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items [clothes that were found in the wreckage of the plane] from Mary’s House [in Malta] took place on 7 December 1988.”

Comments from Professor Hans Kochler

I asked Pr. Kochler — UN observer at the Lockerbie trial — to comment of this most disturbing news.

NB. The evidence, presented at the Zeist trial, regarding the weather conditions in Malta was based on data recorded at Luqa Airport.

Pr. Kochler told me that he never believed in the “Malta theory” and he has questioned the judges’ reasoning from the very beginning.

“My position is evident from what I wrote in Art. 15 of my observer report of 26 March 2002 (!), which was submitted to the United Nations: One of the basic weaknesses of the decision of the Appeal Court consisted in its very refusal to properly evaluate, i.e. reevaluate, the plausibility of the inferences drawn from Mr. Gauci’s testimony and from the information about weather conditions in Malta at the time in question.

In the course of the renewed presentation of the respective evidence during the appeal proceedings it became entirely clear to any rational observer that the report on weather conditions in Malta had been interpreted arbitrarily by the trial judges and that the weather conditions described by Mr. Gauci were much more compatible with the weather report of the meteorological service for 23 November 1988 than with that for 7 December.

To the undersigned it is obvious that the evidence was “weighted” in a deliberate manner so as to be compatible with the date of the appellant’s stay in Malta. The judges as well as the appeal judges arbitrarily excluded consideration of the fact that 7 December was a day before a high Roman-Catholic holiday (which has particular importance in a Catholic country such as Malta) and that the witness would have remembered the fact that a Libyan had bought clothes on the evening before such a holiday (on which the shop was closed).

Put in the context of the evidence available and the circumstances in Malta at the respective period of time, the probability of 23 November 1988 as the date of the purchase of the clothes is much higher than that of 7 December 1988, when the appellant was in Malta.”

“Al-Megrahi was released from prison in 2009 and sent back to Libya on compassionate grounds because of advancing cancer. Public outrage was sparked. Al-Megrahi lived with his cancer for a few years (…) One cannot help but wonder whether the outrage over his release might be tempered if those angry individuals were to seriously examine the suspicious eyewitness testimony that led to Al-Megrahi’s conviction in the first place. My examination has led me to seriously wonder: Is the Lockerbie bomber still out here?”

Professor Elizabeth F. Loftus — Memory (2013)

Tony Gauci on the ‘identification’ of Megrahi

A video program highlighting inconsistencies regarding key evidence against the convicted “Lockerbie bomber.”

Shopkeeper Tony Gauci describes a man unlike Megrahi in almost every physical way, and describes a day of purchase when it could not have been Megrahi.

The mystery of the judges’ acceptance of Gauci’s evidence as relevant to Megrahi is a mystery the video cannot and does not resolve.

REFERENCES

Report by Professor Timothy Valentine

Eyewitness testimony in the Lockerbie bombing case by Elizabeth F. Loftus

Memory, 2013 — Vol. 21 No. 5, 584-590

Maltese man who determined Lockerbie bombing trial diesTimes of Malta

Lockerbie: J’accuse

Key Lockerbie witness Tony Gauci dies in Malta— BBCNEWS

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On This Day — Lockerbie Judges Under the Weather (Malta December 7 1988)

On This Day — Lockerbie Judges Under the Weather (Malta – December 7 1988) [2019]

On This Day — Lockerbie Judges Under the Weather (Malta – December 7 1988) [2020]

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