last update 23 October
Toshiba RT-SF 16 Radios and Libyan Guilt - why this is a clue at all
Timeline: Toshiba Radio Identification - Just try to make sense of this detailed chronology
Decky Horton and Her Find Details on that unusual evidence PK/689 (see below) and the possibility it is other than what was found after the crash.
Debris in Detail
Following are direct quotes, with minimal notes, from the trial transcripts. Testimony of Dr. Thomas Hayes and Mr. Allan Feraday, variously questioned by prosecution and defense. Primarily they are reading from their examination notes.
Overview of manual fragments from Feraday’s final report, read out:
"Many fragments originating from the owner's manual of a Toshiba RT-SF16 radio/cassette recorder have been recovered. These fragments, which are detailed below, are damaged consistent with their close involvement in a powerful explosion. They have been identified by a detailed comparison with the control sample of the owner's manual PT/1 (PR/111) which was removed from the box containing the sample Toshiba RT-SF16 radio/cassette recorder (PR/105). The original positions of the fragments upon each page clearly indicate that the manual was not folded at the moment of explosion, apart from at its original stapled centre fold." [transcripts, day 20, pp 3093-3094]Control: PT/1 (PR/1111): Feraday's report, read out:
"These sheets appeared to have been violently impacted and disrupted and bore localised areas of blackening and scorching consistent with their close explosives involvement." [p 3098]
This consists of the owner's manual extracted from the Toshiba RT-SF16 radio/cassette recorder marked as item PR/105 (above). This manual, shown in photograph 236, was originally included with the radio inside its packing box and was extracted for investigational reasons and given the productions number PT/1."Ferraday's science guy, Dr. Thomas Hayes, carried out what little actual forensics work was done. He testified, under questioning by Mr. Keen for the defense on day 17, about some of the manual fragments he studied. [pp 2687 and onward]
[...] "The item was later renumbered by the Lockerbie police as Production No. PR/111."
[...] "The manual consists of a white paper booklet measuring 26 centimetres by 19 centimetres and incorporating three complete sheets of paper which are folded and stapled together in the centre to produce a booklet of twelve sides of paper. This booklet contains user instructions and diagrams in several different languages. The front cover of the booklet bears the title `Owner's Manual, Toshiba stereo radio/cassette recorder, RT-SF16 BomBeat SF16.' The manual was originally contained, together with the black mains lead, within a polythene bag inside the proprietary packing box of item PR/105." [day 20, p 3079]
- PK/689: Recieved RARDE 11 May, examined by Dr. Hayes 16 May by examination notes.
"When originally received at this laboratory, this item was apparently an irregularly shaped single fragment of paper, shown in photograph 266, which measured approximately 135 millimetres by 125 millimetres. Detailed examination revealed the fragment to consist of two overlaid sheets lightly adhering together, having the same irregular shape.
On the upper surface of the two sheets, shown in photograph 267, were depicted (a) the legend "... Hiba ... O cassette recorder ... SF16 ... BomBeat SF16" and (b) apparent sets of operating instructions printed in several languages." [p 3079]
""... the two-page fragment of paper appears to have survived a close-range explosion involvement." [p 2544]
Above: PK/689 (bottom) compared to control model PT/1. RARDE photo, undated...
[alternate image source: Conspiracy Files, 38:41]
"Q What it is saying there is that this item was received at RARDE on 11/5/89, and then passed to a DC Jordan on the same date for non-destructive fingerprints, and then returned to RARDE on 16th May, passed to DC Jordan on 16th May for chemical treatment after photography –On its discovery by Decky Horton and her Zeist testimony. It was completely intact when she turned it in. See also "Conspiracy Files" link above.
A [Hayes] It does say all of that, yes, sir.
Q And would that chemical treatment, rather than chemical analysis, be a means of preserving the piece of paper? Perhaps I should simply ask, Dr. Hayes, do you know what is meant there by "chemical treatment"?
A I'm guessing, so I really can't answer your question, I'm afraid.
Q But it is in your hand?
A Oh, yes. Yes, I wrote it." [p 2687]
Another possible inconsistency from On the Trail of Terror (1991) by David Leppard:
"Incredibly, none of the search teams had noticed a partly burnt Toshiba radio instruction manual for a Bombeat SF 16 which had been recovered from the crash site. It was to be left lying in Superintendent Roxburgh's property store at the Dexstar warehouse for months. [...] Details had been logged on to the HOLMES computer, but were left forgotten, buried in a mass of data until August." [p 81]Leppard is known to make both frequent mistakes and, on occasion, obliquely ingenious observations. Considering Hayes' record of examinations in May, the claim that PK/689 was at Dexstar until is August could be interesting. Proper paperwork suggests a third date yet between the two for reciept of an item that could only be PK/689:
"Q [Keen] If we look at page 107, halfway down, we see that what the report tells us is that "on 30th June 1989 some explosively damaged paper fragments which bore indications that they originated from the owner's instruction manual for a Toshiba were received at this laboratory, thus conclusively establishing which of the seven models of the Toshiba had been employed in the Lockerbie bomb.
Q But we know that all of the dates predate the 30th of June. We've just looked at them, Dr. Hayes.
A [Hayes] In which case we might reasonably assume that the date listed in this report is in error.
Q Well, there appear to be two alternatives, do there not, Dr. Hayes? One, page 107 of the report is referring to different fragments to those which you found during your forensic examination.
Q The alternative is that the -- this part of the report is simply completely erroneous in ascribing to the 30th of June the receipt of any fragments of the Toshiba owner's manual?
A It could be the date is in error, yes, sir." [p 2692-2697]
- PT/2: 12 May
For what it's worth, the exam notes show other remains of the manual appearing in the following days of May. But the next one is featured on the famous page 51, and that page seems clearly to have been inserted after the fact. By the scan of that page we can see this item was originally and more logically dubbed PT/35(d). Why it was changed is unclear, but it makes two totally different classes of evidence - a control sample and a surprise find from afield - end up numbered PT/1 and PT/2. It works as a nickname, and seems to have no relevance of its own, but the oddity is noteworthy. Perhaps that's a clue to the unusual re-classification of the manual, eventually changed to PR/1111.
"PT/2, fragments of white paper with writing in various languages. "This fragment was recovered from item PI/995 (a fragment of grey-coloured `Slalom' brand shirt (section 5.1.3)), together with other fragments identified as being of particular explosives significance.
"Photograph 273 shows what originally appeared to be a single fragment of paper (encircled) after its extraction from item PI/995. Detailed examination showed that the fragment consisted of five overlaid sheets of paper lightly adhering together. The five sheets appeared to have been violently impacted together and disrupted and bore localised areas of blackening and scorching consistent with their close explosives involvement." [3098-99]
- PT/34: 16 May - “includes … pieces of paper … later thought to be parts of a Toshiba owner's manual” Same day the examination of PK/689 is recorded by Hayes. (I chose its earliest noted received date so it could start us off with a bang)
- ???: 18 May? "One small fragment of white paper bearing black printing" found in "the same blue and white Slalom shirt" PH/999 from which PT/40(b) was pulled. [day 20 p 3116] This would presumably be PT/40(something), and I don't have the time to figure out why I didn't figure this one out before.
- PT/56: 22 May
Feraday: "This consists of two very small blackened fragments of paper bearing a black printed legend. The fragments were recovered from a small fragment of the blue Babygro (item PI/1421, Section 5.1.8) and were identified as most probably having originated from the owner's manual for the Toshiba RT-SF16 radio." [day 20 p 3110]
- PT/31: 1 June 1989
"These ten small fragments of paper were separated from a fragment of the blue Babygro (item PK/2209, Section 5.1.8) along with other fragments of explosives significance, as shown in photograph 281. The ten fragments of paper are all approximately 2 millimetres square and appear to have been violently impacted and disrupted, bearing localised areas of blackening and scorching consistent with their close explosives involvement." [day 20 p 3105-06]Three of these bore printing that, ittle surprise, also matched control sample PT/1 (PR/1111). Bits of the polythene bag were also found stuck to some of these fragments.
Zeist Judges on the Toshiba manual
forthcoming (volunteers? Opinion of the Court will do - check for reference to the cover PK/689.)