Lockerbie trial

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Whatever contentions are made about the “correctness” of paying the Gauci brothers in recognition of their witness ­testimony in the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie atrocity (your report, 25 November) there remains deep scepticism about the ethics and UK legality of such conduct.

The importation of United States legal practices into aspects of what was essentially a Scottish criminal case at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands is questionable from the outset.

Practices such as plea bargaining and witness testimony payment, which occur, though not straightforwardly, in US legal processes, are subject to much circumspection of legal proceedings in Scotland.

The technicalities of payments to the Maltese brothers – as to whether these complied with proper legal standards and did not breach bribery codes of conduct, or otherwise – will stay in a fine balance of ethical observation probably until a number of other answers are provided for questions relating to contentious issues about the Lockerbie trial.

A prominent Austrian philosopher, Hans Kochler, who was appointed as one of five international observers at the trial by then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, is well documented in querying the US Justice Department supervisory role in the Scottish prosecution team.

Mr Kochler said it was his opinion that there seemed to be considerable political influence on the judges and the verdict.

It was, and still is, a view shared by many people who are not so disposed to issue a clean sheet to the Lockerbie trial and verdict.

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive

Peterhead

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