NI defence experts’ examination
The report by the defence forensic experts was lodged as applicant’s production 21
(and also co-accused’s production 26). It is dated 20 April 2000. It states that it is not
entirely surprising to find only one fragment of the timing device as during an explosion
it is fragmented into tiny pieces, only some being retained in cloth or other
adjacent items. The majority of the others would be vented to the atmosphere during
the explosion or subsequent break-up of the aircraft, and the fragments would be light
so would travel a considerable distance. The report states that the fragment PT/35(b)
originates from the relay pad area of a MEBO MST-13 timer. The damage to the
piece was entirely consistent with it having been closely associated with an explosion.
Detailed consideration is given to the curved edge of the fragment and comparison is
made to various control sample boards, which it is suggested had variations in the
markings of the cut edges. It is suggested that the control sample DP/347 most
closely matched PT/35(b).
The defence experts were satisfied that the fragment was indeed from an MST timer.
In a filenote of a meeting between the forensic experts and defence agents and
counsel, one of the experts confided that the photographs in the RARDE report are
of varying quality and taken at different angles/lighting. The expert is recorded as
having explained that even if the angle of the lighting was changed by 45 degrees
only it could alter the appearance of the fragment drastically. The filenote records the
experts to be satisfied that the same fragment appears in all cases. It also records the
experts as being happy to say the piece they examined was that photographed in the
One expert stated that he had also examined fifteen other MEBO boards, 9 of which were solder masked on both sides, the rest on one side only. He was of the view that the cut boards had been cut with machine tools e.g. cut and then the edges filed. They were not machine dye cut, there was some kind of manual input.
There were inconsistencies and uneven edges, some were even cut with a
hacksaw or similar cutting tool. There was definitely manual and not computer input.
PT/35(b) was not cut with a hacksaw and was relatively smooth, but there was an
impression that something had been used, like a machine tool. It is recorded that
Counsel requested further investigation into how the boards were cut and
manufactured, so that they could be grouped. It is apparent that this was done in the
final expert report, in which PT/35(b) was said to most closely match DP/347. This
seems to concur with the Strathclyde police examination (above).