[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 99
OCTOBER 9 1988
“Mr. Feraday should not be allowed to present himself as an expert in electronics.”
Lord Chief Justice Woolf
The work and testimony of RARDE scientist Allen Feraday was instrumental in the indictment and conviction of Megrahi as the person responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103.
Allen Feraday’s reputation is however far from pristine. In three separate cases where men were convicted on the basis of his forensic evidence, the initial ruling was overturned in appeal.
In October 2005, Dr Hans Kochler, one of the international observers at the Lockerbie trial, issued a report regarding Feraday’s grave misgivings.
“The credibility of a key forensic expert in the trial, Mr. Allen Feraday, has been shattered. It was revealed that in three separate cases, men against whom Mr. Feraday gave evidence have now had their convictions overturned.”
According to forensic scientist, Dr Michael Scott, who was interviewed in the documentary “The Maltese Double Cross — Lockerbie”, Feraday has no formal qualifications as a scientist. Under cross-examination by Richard Keen QC, Feraday admitted that much.
The 1982 Hide Park Bomb
Danny McNamee was jailed in 1987 for the bombing of four Household Cavalrymen in 1982. Feraday testified against Irishman McNamee who was identified as the bomb maker.
The case against McNamee was based on the following assertions. Feraday testified that a fragment of a circuit board recovered on the crime scene had been specifically designed to trigger a radio-controlled bomb. He also testified that the circuit was identical to circuits recovered from an IRA cache where fingerprints of McNamee had been found on a battery. Finally, Feraday testified that those circuits had been built by the same person.
In the appeal, scientists far more qualified than Feraday exposed all three claims as utter nonsense. There was nothing specific about the circuit and it was very different in design and quality than the ones recovered at the cache. In fact, McNamee had a degree in electrical engineering and would have done a much better job. The presence of his fingerprints on a battery was easily explained. He had work in an electrical store owned by an IRA member.
His conviction was quashed in 1988 and, after 11 years of wrongful imprisonment, McNamee was finally released.
The John Berry Case
John Berry, a successful business man, was convicted of terrorist conspiracy charges in 1983. At the trial, Feraday testified that the timers Berry had sold in the Middle East were specifically designed for terrorism purpose.
In September of 1993, his conviction was quashed after 10 years of wrongful imprisonment. Four highly qualified witnesses ridiculed Feraday testimony.
Commenting on the case, Lord Justice Taylor stated that Feraday evidence had been extremely dogmatic, uncompromising and incriminating.
The Hassan Assali Case
Born in Libya, Hassan Assali has been a UK resident since 1965. In 1983, he was charged of making electronic timers under the 1883 Explosives Substances Act. Assali was convicted in 1985 based on Feraday testimony.
Owen Lewis, a British Army electronic expert, demolished Feraday allegation. It is my view that Mr Feraday firm and unwavering assertion that the timing devices were made for and had no other purpose than the triggering of IEDs is most seriously flawed.
Michael Moyes, a RAF electronic expert, concurred. There is no evidence that we are aware of that timers of this type have been found to be used for terrorist purposes. Moreover, the design is not suited for that application. His conviction was quashed in 2005, after 22 years of wrongful imprisonment.
The Lockerbie Trial
In early Feb. 1989, Feraday wrote that he was completely satisfied that fragments recovered at the Lockerbie crime scene originated from a white Toshiba brand radio stereo cassette recorder types RT-8016 or RT-8026. It was known that the model had been sold worldwide and thus the finding was a dead-end.
By the time the US and UK issued a joined indictment against the two Libyan men, Feraday had established that the bomb had been hidden in a black Toshiba radio model RT-SF16 almost solely sold to Libya. (Wikipedia has recently deleted Feraday page on the basis that it had been written by a conspiracy theorist.)