Lockerbie defence given equal access to secret CIA telegrams

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Secret CIA documents were shown to the court hearing the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing yesterday. The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, said it was the first time that the American intelligence service had produced evidence for a foreign court.

Secret CIA documents were shown to the court hearing the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing yesterday. The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, said it was the first time that the American intelligence service had produced evidence for a foreign court.

He showed the court at Camp Zeist two classified telegrams which detail CIA interviews with a key prosecution witness, Abdul Majid Giaka. Mr Boyd used them as examples to demonstrate how certain names had been blanked out to protect individuals along with details of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence gathering methods that could be useful to the United States' enemies.

"It's been emphasised to me that the amount of information now in the public domain far exceeds that ever put in the public domain before by the CIA in relation to these events," Mr Boyd said.

The CIA produced less heavily censored versions of the telegrams last week after defence counsel complained about the access they had been given to the documents. It emerged that the Crown had seen largely uncensored versions of the telegrams, whereas they had seen more heavily edited versions. Yesterday, the court was told that the Crown and defence have now been given the same access to the cables.

More information about the interviews with Mr Giaka, including discussions about payments in return for giving evidence, have been revealed in the telegrams. An extra message had also been produced, Mr Boyd told the court.

William Taylor QC and Richard Keen, for the defence, asked for time to respond to the Lord Advocate's submission and the court was adjourned until later today.

Mr Giaka is an former member of the Libyan intelligence services who has been living for 10 years under a witness protection scheme in the US. He is regarded as a crucial witness against the accused men, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, who are alleged to be members of the Libyan intelligence services.

Messrs Megrahi and Fhimah deny planting a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103. The aircraft exploded 38 minutes after leaving Heathrow on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 on board and 11 residents on the ground in Lockerbie.

Three of those killed on the ground were the parents and sister of Stephen Flannigan, 26, who died after being hit by a train just over a week ago. More than 200 mourners gathered yesterday for his burial.

During the service his uncle, Lawrence Doolan, said Mr Flannigan had been on a "wheel of fire" since debris from Pan Am flight 103 fell on the family home killing his parents, Tom and Kathleen, and his sister, Joanne. Mr Flannigan escaped because he was elsewhere in Lockerbie at the time.

He endured more tragedy when his elder brother, David, died five years later in Thailand. Mr Flannigan then moved to Wiltshire to make a new life.

John Boyce, Mr Flannigan's house mate in Wiltshire, fought to control his emotions as he praised his lost friend. Looking around at the mourners he said: "It's very unusual to be any place where Stephen is and see so many sad faces. He had a wonderfully dry sense of humour and had built a life for himself in a new place and was liked and admired by a wide circle of people."

Mr Flannigan was laid to rest in the Dryfesdale Cemetery beside his brother and close to the memorial and mass grave which holds many of the people killed in the Lockerbie disaster.