RECENT evidence that has been quoted in the press reveals that both the UK and US legal authorities were deeply nervous about the quality of the evidence of identification concerning the late Abdel Baset Al Megrahi provided by Mr Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper.

The Scottish police work in Malta leading to this evidence was obtained under the leadership of DCS Harry Bell. Mr Bell had been keeping a contemporaneous diary. Giving evidence under oath in the Zeist court DCS Bell perfectly honestly revealed the existence of his diary, which was at home in Glasgow. To the astonishment of some relatives, present in that Zeist court, Mr Bell was not told to go home and get it. Later that diary was made public.

It appears that Mr Bell knew that an offer of $10,000 "for his immediate needs" was available for Mr Gauci from US "Rewards for Justice" [sic], and funds with essentially unlimited rewards to follow (Mr Gauci is now known to have received $2 million), contingent on him giving evidence contributing to the conviction of Mr Megrahi. This work was done over a decade before the Zeist trial began.

The diary also reveals that Mr Gauci and his brother Paul were aware of and deeply interested in, the immense financial incentives. Wouldn’t you, dear reader, also have been?

Yet Mr Gauci’s was the only supposedly genuine identification of Mr Megrahi as being involved, through the latter’s alleged buying of clothes from Gauci's shop on a certain date. Having failed to explore the contents of Mr Bell’s diary there in court, there seemed to some of us to be a peculiar reluctance on the part of the court to examine the whole of the available evidence. To us laymen it was almost as though Mr Megrahi’s guilt rather than innocence was a given.

I can only agree with Professor Robert Black QC’s comment: "It is now more obvious than ever that the Megrahi conviction is built on sand. An independent inquiry should be instituted into the case by the Scottish Government, the UK Government or both.”

Dr Jim Swire, father of Flora, murdered at Lockerbie, Chipping Campden, Glos.


I HAVE read once again that Prestwick Airport is a political football, this time for the Labour Party, because a prospective sale has not been completed ("Ministers accused of ‘botching’ moves to sell Prestwick Airport", The Herald, December 22). Perhaps the prospective buyer did not offer the right amount of money or guarantees, and even perhaps just wanted the site for an undisclosed purpose, which in turn might have suited the owners of the other major airports in Scotland?

Prestwick Airport is currently one of the few major assets in this country that is still in Scottish ownership. Our other airports, railways and other national assets are owned and operated by foreign parties, therefore I would suggest that the opposition political parties put their efforts into examining how these other assets, might once again come into the ownership of Scotland and its people.

Mike Dooley, Ayr.


DESPITE Europe facing its worst energy crisis since the Second World War, climate activists including such as Greta Thunberg are trying to prevent the EU from easing and encouraging the investment in desperately-needed new nuclear power plants and infrastructure and natural gas. Our energy prices are rocketing because our natural gas prices are now 10 times more expensive than in the United States, where cheap and abundant shale gas is keeping prices low.

It’s clear the EU and the UK – to say nothing of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland – backed losers by prioritising and subsidising unreliable renewables over physically superior low-carbon energy from natural gas and nuclear power. We must give consumers relief by unwinding the extreme costs of our failing renewables fleets and start a programme of combined cycle gas turbine construction as well as a new generation of small modular reactors.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


I HAVE enjoyed recent correspondence regarding misheard and mis-sung Christmas carols (Letters, December 22 & 23).

My father used to sing “The night watch washed their socks by night, all seated on the ground. The manager came down the stairs and tapped them for a pound.”

My own additional contribution is not a carol but a child’s version of the Lord’s Prayer which began: “Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name…”

Janice Taylor, Carluke.

R RUSSELL Smith's letter reminded me of one of my wife’s schoolgirl ditties which goes as follows:

“We three Kings of Orient are,

One on a motorbike, one in a car,

One on a scooter, tooting his hoooter,

Chasing his girlfriend’s car.

Oh girl of wonder, girl of light,

Girl of royal beauty bright,

Westward leading, still proceeding,

Guide us through the traffic light.”

David K Gemmell, Lanark.


A POST on local social media from an unfortunate sufferer of Coeliac's disease praises a nearby restaurant for its glutton free diet.

Time to change our Christmas lunch venue?

David Miller, Milngavie.