'Politics and corporations are standing in the way of truth. This is a show trial'

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The Independent Online

"The significant thing about today is that it is the first day. But this is the wrong trial and it is in the wrong place. Those on trial are the least of the Libyans."

Like so many who lost family or friends in the Lockerbie bombing, Bruce Smith has fought tooth and nail for a hearing that would try to bring those responsible to justice. And, like so many of them, he is not convinced that the trial now playing out at Camp Zeist will do that.

Speaking outside the specially constructed courthouse yesterday, after watching the morning session, Mr Smith, 63, an American, said: "They should be trying the leaders - Gaddafi and the head of the intelligence service - all the people who gave these thugs their orders.

"This is a show trial so that Britain and the United States can exonerate the Libyans and restart diplomatic relations. They want to build up trade again. It is no surprise the Libyans were so quick to accept blame for the death of [British policewoman] Yvonne Fletcher. Politics and corporations are standing in the way of truth."

Mr Smith, himself a former pilot with Pan Am, lost his British wife Ingrid in the disaster. She was aged 33 and worked as a chiropodist.

In his efforts to achieve justice, Mr Smith, who still keeps the couple's Berkshire home but now lives in Florida, has brought a civil action against the Libyan government in the United States. He hopes that the evidence gathered in preparation for this criminal trial will help his civil action.

"In a criminal case the rights of the defendants are more important than the truth," he said. "In a civil action the truth is more important."

Despite his reservations, Mr Smith, like most of the other relatives, believes it is worth sticking with this current trial even if it is merely part of the investigative process.

He also retains some optimism that one day he and the others will get to the bottom of the matter. He said: "I am moderately hopeful."