Jury Clears Briton of Conspiracy in Libyan’s Escape
LONDON (AP) _ A British export agent was cleared by an Old Bailey jury Monday of plotting to smuggle a Libyan facing drug charges out of Britain.
Another Briton, Anthony Gill, 50, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was expected to be sentenced Tuesday.
A jury at London’s Old Bailey court found Godfrey Shiner, 48, innocent of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by arranging for Mohammed Shebli, 43, to flee Britain in a private plane on Aug. 2, 1984. Shebli was to stand trial four days later on cocaine and marijuana smuggling charges.
The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that Shebli was related to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy, but Shebli denied it when he returned to Libya.
Prosecutor Stephen Mitchell alleged that Shiner, who sold oilfield equipment to the Libyans, hoped to boost his status with them by ″springing″ Shebli, a manager with a British telecommunications firm. Mitchell said that Shiner hatched the plot on his motorcruiser moored off Malta and asked Gill to help.
Mitchell alleged that Gill arranged the escape and flew with Shebli in a Cessna light plane from England to Libya.
Shiner said in court that he knew Shebli but he denied having anything to do with the plot.
Gill and Shiner were arrested when they came home last year after being released without charge by Egyptian authorities, who held them for six months on suspicion of conspiracy to assassinate a former Libyan prime minister, Abdel-Hamid Bakoush.