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Reevel Alderson reports
"It's been the turn of the first defence QC to remind the judges of what the case has entailed"
 real 28k

Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 13:10 GMT
Lockerbie case 'unproven'
Police at Camp Zeist
The trial has been held with tight security throughout
The judges hearing the case against two Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie bombing have been told it would be "unreasonable and unsafe" to convict them.

The accused have alleged that Palestinian terrorists carried out the bombing, and Bill Taylor QC, for the defence, said the prosecution had failed to dismiss that possibility.

As he made his closing submission at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands, he said it would have been an "extraordinary coincidence" if Palestinian terrorists based in Germany had not planted the bomb which blew up Pan Am flight 103.

Mr Taylor, representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, pointed the finger at a cell of the Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine - General Command.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground
The two men deny murder. Charges of conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act were dropped
The trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands
The case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judges
He said: "Whilst the defence cannot prove responsibility it can show the court that there is some relevant information which points away from the Crown theory and the alleged guilt of the two accused.

"The PFLP-GC German terror cell had access to similar, but not identical, Toshiba radios which experts believed contained the Pan Am bomb, and a raid on their base discovered they had stocks of different kinds of trigger devices.

He added: "There would still need to be an extraordinary coincidence that a group using such material in such a way in October 1988 in Germany was not responsible for the bombing of a flight which passed through Germany two months later."

Mr Taylor said that, before the court could find the two men guilty, it would need to dismiss that coincidence.

He told the judges: "It would be unreasonable and unsafe to take that course."

Once Mr Taylor completes his case, Mr Richard Keen QC, defending Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, will also insist his client is innocent and urge the judges to acquit.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi
Mr Tarlor represents Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi
On Tuesday the Crown dropped two of the three charges faced by the Libyans.

They had been initially charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and contravening the aviation security acts.

Now they face one charge of mass murder on 21 December, 1988.

On Wednesday prosecutors closed their case and said the evidence before the court demonstrated that the accused were responsible for the outrage.

But the Crown case closed with an admission that it was not known how the suitcase containing the bomb which destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 was placed on board the ill-fated Boeing 747.

Advocate depute Alistair Campbell QC said it was not essential to say how the bomb had got on board.

The judges on the panel are expected to retire for about a week before delivering their verdict to the court at Camp Zeist.

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See also:

08 Jan 01 | Lockerbie Trial
Lockerbie defence cut short
08 Jan 01 | Lockerbie Trial
Analysis: Conclusion of Lockerbie evidence
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