Evidence used to convict a Libyan in the 1988 Lockerbie disaster fails to support a bomb was loaded onto the plane in an unaccompanied suitcase, defence lawyers say.
As the appeal went into its fifth day, counsel for Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi argued that the initial trial judges overlooked records from airport authorities in Malta showing there had been no irregularities pointing to a security breach, reports the Press Association news agency.
Airline documentation "does not record that any unaccompanied baggage traveled on KL180," as the prosecution claimed, said lawyer William Taylor. Prosecutors say al-Megrahi tagged a bomb-laden suitcase in Malta, routing it onto a flight to London via Frankfurt, before it exploded en route to New York on Pan Am killing 270 people.
All 55 pieces of luggage onboard the plane from Malta were accounted for, Taylor said, and there was no evidence of irregularities. The court "gave insufficient weight" to the luggage records and therefore "misconstructed evidence," which led to a miscarriage of justice, he argued.
The former Libyan intelligence agent was convicted of murder one year ago by three Scottish High Court judges and sentenced to life, with no possibility of parole for 20 years. A second defendant was acquitted. Taylor has asked the five appellate judges to hear new evidence of a break-in at a luggage depot in Heathrow Airport on the day of the crash.
The court has not yet ruled on the request. (albawaba.com)