PI/995 is the evidentiary designation given to a 4" bomb-damaged shred of a shirt collar, Slalom brand, gray in color. It became relevant first for being near the bomb, later for yielding pieces of the IED radio case and electrics, paper user's manual, and the famous timer fragment PT/35(b). All this magicall assortment plus the pregnant find PI/995 can be seen in this photograph. Here we'll deal with its evidence label, which has some interesting issues.
DC Gilchrist under questioning at Camp Zeist (witness 257, day 5, May 9 2000)
Q I wonder if we can magnify on the word "debris." Now, when we magnify the photograph of the label, Mr. Gilchrist, we can see, can we not, that it has been altered?Mr. Gilchrist could not recall doing so, but guessed that he had re-written carefully over the fainter word "cloth" when "on closer examination ... I put down "debris" ... in case it isn't cloth." One simple reason to do some overwriting (one would presume of the same words of course) is the original pen being almost dead for ink. "The "debris," certainly, appears overwritten," the witness noted, "and the "(charred)," if you look, "Where Found," I Sector, the pen looks as if it's almost running out there, and the "debris" is in heavier writing." [pp 860-61]
A I can see writing underneath it.
Q Exactly. And if we look carefully at the writing underneath the word "debris," we can make out, can we not, the word "cloth," with the C being under the D, the L under the E, an O under the B of "debris," and a T under the R, and a H under the S?
A It's possible, yes, sir.
Q It's more than possible, Mr. Gilchrist. It's perfectly obvious, isn't it?
Q Well, why didn't you mention this alteration during your examination in chief, Mr. Gilchrist, when you read out the label to us?
A I didn't notice it. It's the first time it's been brought to my attention. [p 845]
From there it gets interesting - he didn't do the re-writing, once he started thinking about it. Tangled together here are two pieces of evidence, PI/995 and PI/990, with their separate tags.
Q Label Number 82 refers to PI 990, Lockerbie air crash, charred pieces of a suitcase found in I, 502 858, by T. Gilchrist, on the 13th of
A secondary label, "Debris (charred), found I Sector, 502 858," in my writing. Refers to the same.
Q Do we understand that there are two labels attached --
Q -- to Label 82?
Can we first of all be clear whether it's possible to say from which police force these labels are?
A The first one is a Dumfries and Galloway label. The second one is a Strathclyde one.
Q And which of these have you signed?
A The second one, the Strathclyde one -- or the first one; I don't know which.
Q Well, if we call it the Strathclyde one, you've signed the Strathclyde label?
Q All right. And who has filled in the details on the Strathclyde label?
A I have.
Q And what have you written?
A "Debris, charred, found I, 502 858," and signed by myself.
Q And is there a date?
A There is a date in the column, but it's not my writing.
Q What's the date?
Q And what's the grid reference?
A 502 858.
Q Will you have before you at the same time Label Number 168. And will you confirm that Label Number 168 is PI 995?
Q How many labels are attached to it?
Q And I think you've told us earlier that you completed that label?
Q And you've told us that that was on the 13th of January 1989?
Q Is that the same date on which you found Label Number 82?
MR. KEEN: With respect, My Lord, the witness has already said in respect of the earlier label that he did not complete the date.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Yes.
MR. KEEN: Although my learned friend chose
not to take up that point with the witness, he very clearly said that.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Well, the witness did say that, Mr. Depute, that the date is not in his handwriting.
Q Is the date which you've entered on Label Number 168 the same date as appears on Label 82?
A I've entered the date on Label 168. I haven't entered any date on Label 82. There is a date entered, but it's not in my writing.
Q What is that date?
Q I wonder if it's possible to put both of these labels together on the document imager, please. […] On the bottom label, the one for PI 995, there appear the words "Debris (charred)"?This is supposed to PI/995's label, with seven signatures, but only the three Thomases (Gilchrist, McColm, and Hayes) are visible to me. The lower right writing seems like a reference note, possibly "MOD PER16 D&G", where D&G refers to the leading Dumfries and Galloway police department. The lower left could be a jammed in signature, but "TCP Scribble" isn't a match for any of those names. The remaining two were done in pens completely out of ink, one must presume, or we're mixed up here and he's referring to an attached form or writing on the back, or something. It's not a big deal.
Q The word "charred" in brackets, whose
writing is that in?
A I can't be specific about that. It looks like mine, but --
Q It looks like your writing?
A I'm not 100 percent convinced.
Q Is there any difference between the entries on the two labels?
A I don't think PI 995 is my writing.
Q You don't think it's your writing?
A It's not the way I would do a "D".
Q You signed the label attached to it, the label itself?
A Yes. Yes.
Q Who else has signed the label?
A Several people. Cal Mentoso (phonetic), Derek Henderson -- no, I think it's -- I think it's Derek Henderson, Tom Hayes, Allan Feraday, Tom McColm, Ron McManus.
Q Looking to the other label [PI990], you see the words "Debris (charred)"?
Q You explained to the Court earlier that you had written these words.
Q Is that the position?
A Yes, it's my writing.
Q And what about the position on the other label, PI 995?
A Part of it's mine.
A Part of the writing is mine, but I am not convinced it's all mine.
Q Well, with respect to the words "Debris (charred)," what do you say?
A I can't give an opinion on it. I don't recall overwriting it, and I'm not convinced that "charred" is my writing.
Q I see. But the phrase "debris (charred)" is a phrase that you clearly used --
A I normally use.
Q -- on the other label; is that right?
A Yes. Yes.
Q The phrase "debris (charred)" is a phrase that you had in mind to use in relation to the other item that you have before you, the one that's Label 82?
Q And it's a phrase that you used in relation to that item, which you found at exactly the same spot that's referred to in the label on PI 995, isn't it?
From there Campbell was happy to draw the parallels - if these two items PI/990 and 995 were found same day and same spot by same witness, who signed off on both, then clearly the witness wrote these out. All this was just to carry out what was supposed to be a simple exercise - introducing a piece of evidence that was found by a cop at the site. It's a highly significant, charged, piece of evidence, yielding that infamous timer fragment PT/35(b), and along the way the basic cop with the basic "yes sir" script revealed a possible red flag of manipulation. It was written using someone else's hand, the witness says. 'But it's phrase you would use if you'd written it?' Campbell in essence asks, and moves on. Same guy, same spot, same phrase, same day - except the other tag's date was written in later by someone else, the witness says. So it all ties up (??), PI/995 duly noted as legitimate evidence and ready to elaborate on...
(see PT/35(b) Papers, Photos, Details for the ensuing shadiness)