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The BBC's Scotland correspondent, Andrew Cassell
"The potential new evidence is being kept secret because of it's sensitivity and because of it's danger to lives"
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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 09:57 GMT
New evidence delays Lockerbie trial
The judges are "in the dark"
The Lockerbie trial has been adjourned for another week to allow the defence team to study evidence that could have a major impact on the case.

The information, received by the Crown from an unnamed foreign government, is said to be relevant to the case being put forward by lawyers for the two Libyan suspects.

The trial resumed on Monday after the latest delay - a two-week adjournment to allow further inquiries to be made into the material passed to the prosecution.

On Tuesday, defence counsel Bill Taylor QC told the court: "It is apparent that the information contained, if true, will have the greatest conceivable effect on this trial and in particular on the special defence."

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 three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act
The trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands
The case is being heard by three Scottish judges
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, who is leading the prosecution, said on 10 October that the information received was of considerable relevance to the defence's counter-theory that Palestinian groups could have been behind the bombing.

The prosecution handed over a letter and a file of documents to the defence on Monday.

Mr Taylor requested that the court adjourn until next Tuesday 31 October but said he was "pessimistic" that the trial could even resume then because of the extent and importance of the new evidence.

"At the moment it is obvious to me that investigations in three separate continents and at least six separate countries will be required," Taylor said.

Details of the new evidence remained shrouded in secrecy since lives were potentially in danger, he said.

Court 'in the dark'

But having studied the contents of the letter and other documents received on Monday, the defence had sent a lawyer to another continent. Two Scottish solicitors would be heading for a European country later on Tuesday.

The prosecution waited two weeks before passing on the information to the defence while Scottish police tracked down six individuals, five who live in a European country and one in the United States.

Presiding judge Lord Sutherland agreed to the adjournment, but said the court, also in the dark about the new evidence, would need more details if it were to agree to further postponements.

"If any further request is made for an adjournment, the court may need more information if it is to be in a position to monitor progress properly," he added.

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See also:

23 Oct 00 | World
Six quizzed over Lockerbie
09 Oct 00 | World
Lockerbie trial postponed again
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