Lockerbie witness to sue

A KEY witness at the Lockerbie trial has revealed he plans to sue the Crown Office and Scottish Police for 33.75 million after new revelations about critical evidence in the case.
Edwin Bollier, the former head of Swiss company Mebo, which the Crown Office claimed made the timer for the Lockerbie bomb, has consulted lawyers in Switzerland and is looking for UK legal representation to take the case.

The move, which comes as Libya reveals it may stop UK police from entering the country to further investigate the bombing, follows new evidence about a tiny piece of electrical circuit board found at the Lockerbie crash site.

During the trial at Camp Zeist, it was agreed the fragment came from an MST-13 timer manufactured by Mebo.

The firm revealed it had sold 20 such timers to the Libyans in 1985, and this became a hugely significant part of the case against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the atrocity that killed 270 people.

After the trial Mebo was forced into bankruptcy after facing a lawsuit from Pan Am, which itself went bankrupt in 1991. Mebo had also lost major clients, such as the German federal police to which it supplied communications equipment.

Mr Bollier claims he lost millions as a result.

However, Megrahi's official biography by John Ashton claims new evidence shows the fragment of circuit board found at Lockerbie was 100% covered in tin and did not match those in the timers sent to Libya. It also alleges the Crown's forensic expert at trial, Allen Feraday, was aware of the disparity but failed to disclose it.

Documents from the Ministry of Defence Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment, disclosed by the Crown just before Megrahi's appeal was dropped, revealed contradictory notes from Mr Feraday saying the coating was pure tin and then "70/30 SN/Pb" (70% tin and 30% lead).

Mr Bollier said: "It is now absolutely clear this fragment was not from a timer we delivered to Libya. We told the police in 1999 this was the case but they would not believe us. We lost our company and had to pay a big damages claim. I have instructed lawyers in Switzerland and I am looking for a lawyer in the UK. The counter claim we would have against the Crown and Scottish police is for $53m. This is for the money lost plus interest."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Prior to the original trial the defence instructed its own independent analysis of the timer fragment, which necessitated a review of the examinations carried out by those consulted and instructed by the Crown. In respect of the timer fragment the defence experts were satisfied it had suffered damage consistent with it having been closely associated with an explosion and that it had come from an MST-13 timer."

The potential lawsuit comes as Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A'al warned there is no agreement in place to allow British police access to the country.

He said: "There is no treaty between Britain and Libya to allow such a thing."

He added that any future agreement might depend on whether Britain answers questions on its past relationship with Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

"Didn't the former British prime minister Tony Blair visit Libya more than one time?" he asked.