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David, whom we have chosen not to identify, has a history of making inappropriate sexual approaches to women.
He was detained under the mental health act in a hospital where he could receive treatment to deal with his behaviour. Although he was not violent, concerns about "public safety" meant he was also made the subject of a restriction order which says he cannot leave the hospital without the approval of the justice minister - a move more often associated with the most dangerous violent offenders.
As a result David, who also has severe learning difficulties, has been locked away in a secure mental hospital for four years. Everyone involved in his treatment and acre now believes he could safely be cared for in the community with certain conditions, including that he always has an escort.
But he cannot get out. The last mental health tribunal to consider his case ruled that to impose such restrictions would in effect deprive him of his freedom, so he would not really be "discharged" from the mental health orders at all. This would breach article five of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to liberty and security, and would "thereby be impermissible in law".
As the last stands, David cannot be moved out of the secure mental hospital to a place where he would be happier and better cared for, and where he would pose no risk to anyone, because it is deemed that this would breach his own human rights! According to Simon Burrows, a Manchester-based barrister, many others are in the same trap. While the doctors' proposals do indeed "restrict" liberty, he says, they do not amount to "deprivation" because David, and others like him, would be able to leave their new homes whenever they wishes, albeit under supervision.
The first half of each issue of the magazine, which consists chiefly of reporting and investigative journalism, tends to include these in-jokes in a more subtle manner, so as to maintain journalistic integrity, while the second half, more geared around unrestrained parody and cutting humour, tends to present itself in a more confrontational way.
Layout and style Private Eye has lagged behind other magazines in adopting new typesetting and printing technologies. At the start it was laid out with scissors and paste and typed on three IBM Executive typewriters — italics, pica and elite — lending an amateurish look to the pages. For some years after layout tools became available the magazine retained this technique to maintain its look, although the three older typewriters were replaced with an IBM composer.
Today the magazine is still predominantly in black and white though the cover and some cartoons inside appear in colour and there is more text and less white space than is typical for a modern magazine.
The former "Colour Section" was printed in black and white like the rest of the magazine: only the content was colourful. Another special issue was published in September to mark the death of long-time staff member Paul Foot.
Private Eye issue , 12—25 October The following is an article entitled "Fragment of the imagination? Last week the Glasgow Herald disclosed that the prosecution team had examined a CIA document relating to a tiny fragment of a bomb timer said to have been found in the crash debris and used to implicate Megrahi. They had failed to disclose it to the defence, even though it apparently cast doubt on both the suggestion that the fragment came from the timer used to blow up the Pan Am flight, and the idea that it was, as claimed, downloadd by the Libyans.
The existence of the document, uncovered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission , formed one of six grounds for concluding last July that there had been a miscarriage of justice.
The commission did not disclose the sensitive document as part of its page report into the affair because it seems it could not obtain authority from the US. Given the sudden confession last month by Ulrich Lumpert , a Swiss electronics engineer, that in he stole a "non-operational" timing board from his employer and handed it to "a person officially investigating in the Lockerbie case", and the stink that has always surrounded the case becomes overwhelming.
Lumpert, who gave evidence at the trial, now risks arrest for perjury should he ever leave his homeland. But even without these damning revelations six and a half years after the trial, the evidence surrounding the fragment of bomb timer, like so much of the case against Megrahi , is deeply flawed. Those flaws were exposed at the specially convened no-jury trial that began in the Netherlands in , buth the three Scottish judges performed all sorts of leaps of logic to avoid them.
Shortly after the trial, the many inconsistencies were set out by the late Paul Foot in "Lockerbie - The Flight From Justice", a page special report in the Eye. The fragment of circuit board said to have come from the MST timer featured heavily.
First, there were differing accounts of how the fragment, apparently embedded in the neck of a shirt, was found. By the time of the trial, the shirt was said to have been found by a policeman combing the area, DC Gilchrist, in January Forensic exhibits are supposed to be carefully preserved and labelled, but Gilchrist was unable to explain why the label on the exhibit bag had been changed from "cloth charred" to "debris".
The judges decided Gilchrist's evidence about the change was "at worst evasive and at best confusing". But the page on which he recorded his findings appeared to have been inserted in his notebook at a later date and the pages renumbered. Dr Hayes could not explain this.
Hayes was one of the RARDE scientists criticised by the May inquiry into the erroneous conviction of the Maguire family for explosives offences in If Lumpert is now telling the truth, he did not hand over an identical circuit board to investigators until June, and after Hayes is said to have examined the fragment. The fragment wasn't photographed until September by Allen Feraday , a RARDE scientist whose note to police saying it was the best he could in the short time available.
No one could explain why a gap of four months was a "short time". What is clear is that it wasn't until June the following year in Washington that US investigators identified the fragment as a match to the MEBO timers. The bosses of the Swiss manufacturers, Bollier and Meister , subsequently confirmed that they had supplied 20 such timers to the Libyans.
Suddenly, more than a year after the explosion, the entire Scottish investigation switched its focus to Libya.
Evidence already obtained, much of it from German police, that linked the Pan Am bomb to a Syrian -backed terrorist cell in Frankfurt, hired by Iranians to avenge the shooting down of a civil airliner by the US , was promptly dropped.
The German police had discovered altitude-sensitive bombs, designed for aircraft, which could be packed in cassette recorders with timing devices triggered to start at a height of 3,ft.
They were calculated to blow an aircraft up 38 minutes after take-off — exactly how long after leaving Heathrow that Pan Am exploded. At the time, it was reported that a piece of circuit board recovered from a Pan Am aircraft pallet was expected to link it to the Syrian-backed cell. The bizarre twist in the face of this mounting evidence incriminating Syria and Iran prompted Foot to conclude that it was nothing more than political expediency: the US suddenly needed Syrian and Iranian support for an attack on Saddam Hussein 's occupying forces in Kuwait.
Foot outlined how Megrahi and his original co-accused Lamin Khalifah Fhimah , who was acquitted by the Scottish judges, were originally put in the frame by a "Libyan defector", Abdul Giaka , a proven liar and cheat who was handsomely rewarded for his evidence by the CIA. A series of cables sent from his CIA handlers to headquarters, which were originally withheld from the trial but later released in a redacted form, showed that the agents themselves thought he was a man of little credibility.
The judges agreed his evidence was "at best grossly exaggerated and worst untrue, and largely motivated by financial considerations". But they never questioned why the prosecution should rely on such a corrupt and desperate liar in the first place. Instead, the judges relied on the only other evidence that incriminated Megrahi : his identification, 11 years after the event, by Tony Gauci , a Maltese shopkeeper who sold the 13 items of clothing that were packed around the bomb.
And it has now emerged that they uncovered other sensitive casting doubt on Gauci 's reliability. Unconfirmed reports suggest it relates to offers of payment by the CIA.
This week, lawyers acting for Megrahi are expected to make applications to the court relating to his forthcoming appeal, including asking for all the documentation in the case to be made public. He added his weight to the families' calls for an immediate independent international investigation into the affair.