Thomas Hayes (scientist)

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Thomas Hayes is a former forensic scientist at the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE), which was subsumed into the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 1995. Part of DERA became the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in 2001.

Expert witness[edit]

Dr Hayes testified that he was the first to discover the piece of crucial evidence (Mebo MST-13 timer fragment) that would convict Abdelbaset al-Megrahi at the Lockerbie trial, which took place from May 2000 to January 2001 at Camp Zeist, Netherlands.[1]

Hayes admitted at the trial that he did not think it was necessary to test the tiny timer fragment for explosive residue. Under cross-examination, Hayes agreed that an even smaller sample (from underneath a fingernail) had been tested by two other RARDE scientists (Elliott and Higgs) in the cases of the Maguire Seven and Judith Ward. Both cases were subsequently quashed on appeal, when the RARDE scientists "were found to have lied and suppressed evidence at the trials."[2]

The Scottish Court in the Netherlands also heard that Hayes had examined the timer fragment at RARDE in May 1989, four months after it was said to have been found. But the page recording his findings appeared to have been inserted out of sequence into his notebook at a later date, and the pages renumbered.[3] His RARDE colleague, Alan Feraday, whose evidence followed that of Hayes, was asked to explain this apparent discrepancy but was unable to do so.

Case reviewed[edit]

Following a three-year review, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission reported on 28 June 2007 that evidence had been uncovered suggesting that Megrahi may have been wrongly convicted. He was granted leave for a second appeal against conviction.[4]

In a statement dated 29 June 2007 Dr Hans Köchler, international observer at the Lockerbie trial, expressed his surprise at the SCCRC's narrow focus and apparent bias towards the judicial establishment:

"In giving exoneration to the police, prosecutors and forensic staff, I think they show their lack of independence. No officials to be blamed, simply a Maltese shopkeeper."[5]

Second appeal[edit]

New information casting fresh doubts about Megrahi's conviction was examined by three judges at a preliminary hearing in the Appeal Court in Edinburgh on 11 October 2007:

  1. His lawyers claim that vital documents, which emanate from the CIA and relate to the Mebo timer that allegedly detonated the Lockerbie bomb, were withheld from the trial defence team.[6]
  2. Tony Gauci, chief prosecution witness at the trial, is alleged to have been paid $2 million for testifying against Megrahi.[7]
  3. Mebo's owner, Edwin Bollier, has revealed that in 1991 the FBI offered him $4 million to testify that the timer fragment found near the scene of the crash was part of a Mebo MST-13 timer supplied to Libya.[8]
  4. Former employee of Mebo Ulrich Lumpert swore an affidavit in July 2007 saying that he had given false evidence at the trial concerning the MST-13 timer[9]

The second appeal will be heard by five judges in the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2008.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Police investigations of "politically sensitive" or high profile crimes" (PDF). Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Criticism of RARDE scientists Archived 27 October 2003 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Lockerbie trial evidence of Dr Thomas Hayes Archived 23 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent (29 June 2007). "Libyan jailed over Lockerbie wins right to appeal". Guardian. UK. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Statement by Dr Hans Köchler". I-p-o.org. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  6. ^ 'Secret' Lockerbie report claim BBC News 2 October 2007
  7. ^ Fresh doubts on Lockerbie conviction The Guardian 3 October 2007
  8. ^ "Lockerbie trial: an intelligence operation? New revelation about financial offer to key witness from Switzerland". I-p-o.org. 5 October 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Fragment of the imagination?" Private Eye issue 1195 (page 28) 12–25 October 2007
  10. ^ "Lockerbie bomber in fresh appeal". BBC News. 11 October 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 

See also[edit]