SCCRC 'queried Lockerbie verdict'

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only person convicted over the Lockerbie bombing

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only person convicted over the Lockerbie bombing

First published in National News © by

New details of the legal grounds that could have cast doubt on the Lockerbie bomber's conviction have been disclosed, according to a newspaper report.

The six grounds for referral back to the appeal court are contained in a document by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), the body which investigates potential miscarriages of justice, with extracts printed in the Herald newspaper.

The Scottish Government has brought forward legislation to bring about the publication of the full report but data protection rules still bar its formal publication.

On claims the verdict was unreasonable, the SCCRC report quoted in the Herald states: "The commission has reached the view that the trial court's verdict is at least arguably one which no reasonable court, properly directed, could have returned."

The six grounds for referral were previously published by the SCCRC in summary. Four of the reasons refer to undisclosed evidence from the Crown to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's defence team.

Those grounds cover evidence about a positive identification of Megrahi by Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who said he sold clothes to a Libyan man. The clothes were linked to a suitcase loaded onto the plane, which was then linked to the bomb and eventually to Megrahi.

The SCCRC raised concerns that evidence suggesting Mr Gauci had seen a magazine article linking Megrahi to the bomb was not passed to the defence.

Contradictions about the day Megrahi was said to have bought the clothes were also highlighted. The court was told the purchase was on December 7 but the SCCRC said Mr Gauci also thought it might have been November 29.

"In the commission's view, by withholding this information the Crown deprived the defence of the opportunity to take such steps as it might have deemed necessary," the report in the Herald adds.

Also of concern to the SCCRC was undisclosed evidence about Mr Gauci's interest in rewards. A fifth reason covered "secret" intelligence documents not seen by Megrahi's legal team while the sixth referred to new evidence on the date of clothes purchased in Malta.

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