|Taylor Submissions on Mebo
William Taylor QC, for the first time accused, continued his submissions this morning by turning to Mebo and the evidence of Edwin Bollier and Erwin Meister. He invited the court to subject the evidence of both to "very close scrutiny" and to give it credence only if supported by other evidence. He said that both were intent on falsely focusing attention on Libya.
Taylor said that Bollier was a liar and a fantasist, "a man who is prone to invention". His evidence contradicted itself and that of Meister. He pointed in particular to the contradictory statements about the settings of 40 Olympus timers taken by Bollier to Tripoli and returned to Zurich in December 1988.
Taylor contended that 2 MST13 timers had been delivered to the Stasi in 1985. He described the Stasi as one of Mebo's largest customers and suggested that the Stasi had received many more MST13 timers. He said that Bollier and Meister denied supplying the Stasi until 1993 with the intention of implicating Libya.
Taylor claimed that their was no evidence that Bollier performed any function in relation to MST13 timers on his visit to Libya from 18 to 20 December 1988. He also claimed that the contacts between Bollier and the first accused, which began in 1987, related exclusively to getting Mebo invoices paid.
Taylor is expected to conclude his submissions this afternoon when a further bulletin will be posted.
William Taylor began his afternoon submissions by asserting that there was no evidence of the ingestion of the IED at Malta. There was no evidence that Megrahi checked in the case, nor that he took it to Luqa Airport for the second accused to introduce into the interline system. He invited the court to have no regard to the entry in Fhimah's diary about collecting Air Malta luggage tags. Scots law, he said only allowed evidence against one accused to be used against the other where there was proof of concert. The only evidence of a brown Samsonite suitcase at Luqa airport came from Giaka, but he made no report to his CIA handlers at the time. Taylor invited the court to infer that Giaka, who was keeping a watch on Libyan agents in Malta, saw nothing untoward at the time.
Taylor then turned to the final chapter of his submissions, the direct evidence against his client. He described Tony Gauci's identification evidence as "utterly unreliable". Gauci had initially responded to a photograph of Megrahi shown to him in February 1991 by saying that it resembled the purchaser of clothing in December 1998, except that the purchaser was ten years older. Taylor claimed that the identification by Gauci at the trial was contaminated by the frequent publication of photographs of the first accused in the media since 1991.
As to the date of the purchase of items of clothing at St Mary House, Gauci's evidence was "fraught with confusion". Taylor asserted that the Crown's contention that the clothing was purchased on 7 December 1998, a date Megrahi was in Malta, was not confirmed by Gauci. The witness had not pinpointed the date. He has stated that he had worked the days before and after the purchase, but that, 8 December being a holiday, Taylor argued that the purchase could not have been on 7 December. The witness has also said that his brother Paul was not working because he was watching football on TV; Taylor pointed out that there were matches on 23 November, when Megrahi was not in Malta, and 7 December. The witness had also spoken of rain on the day of the purchase; Taylor claimed that it was not raining on 7 December, but was on 23 November.
William Taylor QC, for the first accused, began by looking at Megrahi's movements at the critical dates. He asserted that Megrahi did little to conceal his presence in Malta on 20th and 21st December 1988. While he travelled on his coded passport, under the name of Ahmed Kalifa Abdusamad, he had used that passport before in Malta and elsewhere. He stayed at the Holiday Inn where he was known and where he had previously used his other passport. He claimed airline discount at the hotel. He disclosed his hotel on the embarkation card. He did nothing to conceal his presence at Luqa airport on checking on the 21st of December. All in all, he was, Taylor said, "the unlikeliest courier"
Taylor turned to Majid Giaka, attacking his credibility and reliably as a witness. Giaika's demeanour in court on cross-examination reflected on his credibility, Taylor said. Giaka made no eye contact, looked to the right where FBI lawyers were seated and prevaricated in his answers. Taylor referred to Giaka's presence in the US Witness Protection Programme since 1991. That and his earlier status as a double agent from August 1988, gave him an incentive to give false and exaggerated evidence. Taylor described Giaka as having "low cunning", with a strong motivation for financial reward and settlement in the United States.
Taylor described Giaka's evidence of plastic explosive in Fhimah's desk at Luqa airport as a fabrication. Taylor then described Giaka's evidence off a question by Megrahi on the feasibility of placing an unaccompanied bag on a plane as "utterly capricious of the truth"
Giaka's evidence about Fhimah and Megrahi with a brown suitcase at Luqa airport on the 20th of December 1988 was not reported to his CIA handlers until 1991, when his relationship with the CIA was under threat. Taylor contended that this evidence was worthless.
The court was continued until tomorrow morning for the last half hour of Taylor's submissions and for Richard Keen's submissions on behalf of Fhimah.