Letter: Megrahi verdict is the key issue

RE CATHERINE Deveney's column (Insight, 19 December): there is a far more important issue than questions about the release of Megrahi, found guilty at Zeist of the Lockerbie bombing.

For so many who have heard and studied the evidence led against him, and the performance of his defence team in that court, the verdict looked untenable under any recognisable form of Scottish criminal law. It is hard to believe that a Scottish jury could ever have convicted him. Could 15 sufficiently naive Scots have been found? I doubt it.

"Reasonable doubt" was left unanswered at so many points, yet it is supposed to be necessary to exclude it entirely before a criminal guilty verdict is reached. He was not securely identified as the buyer of clothes in Malta, nor was there any proof that he breached security at Malta airport. It was only afterwards that we learned of the break-in at Heathrow, a far more likely route to the doomed plane's hold than Malta ever was. Only afterwards did we learn that the Scottish investigating police knew before the case came to court that the Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci who "thought Megrahi looked like the clothes buyer" and, who was a key witness, knew that Megrahi's conviction would land him a prize of $2,000,000. Why did the police not tell the court that?

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Let's review the verdict and see if it stands, rather than continue to rabbit on about his release which many, myself included, think was the right and responsible move for Kenny MacAskill to make.

If all the commentators on this ghastly case had been crammed into the court's public gallery, I think they would be raging for a review of the verdict, not endlessly discussing his release. If the verdict was unjust, as so many believe, what must the real culprits think of Scotland now? Some of us want to be sure about who killed all those people. It's Scotland's call.

Jim Swire, via e-mail

THIS is the best article I have read for many years. It so clearly presents the writer's deeply held views on what Scotland should be and expresses my thoughts in a better way than I ever could. Please pass on my thanks and congratulations to Catherine Deveney.

Brigitte Sweeney, Kirkcaldy