'New evidence' halts Lockerbie hearing

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The Independent Online

The trial of two Libyans accused of causing the Lockerbie disaster was halted yesterday after prosecutors claimed to have important new information, but refused to disclose what it was.

The trial of two Libyans accused of causing the Lockerbie disaster was halted yesterday after prosecutors claimed to have important new information, but refused to disclose what it was.

The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, was given a week's adjournment, after he said the Crown had received information from a foreign country which had to be investigated. It did not come from the US.

The accused, Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, alleged members of the Libyan Intelligence Services, deny planting a bomb on Pan Am flight 103.

The plane exploded above Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground. The men deny conspiracy to murder, murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act, and they have blaming others for the atrocity including Mohamed Abo Talb, a former commander in the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front.

Talb, who was jailed for life in 1989 for bombing an airline's office in Copenhagen, is expected to give evidence as a prosecution witness at the trial, held in Camp Kleist, in the Netherlands, specially designated as Scottish territory for the case.

Mr Boyd said: "The matters raised by this information are of some complexity and considerable sensitivity. They relate not to the Crown case but to the defence case."