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McKie inquiry vows to put Scottish justice in the dock...
 


 

SCOTLAND’S senior law officer, Colin Boyd, and justice ministers past and present are set to be grilled under oath by the parliamentary committee investigating the Shirley McKie fingerprint scandal.

A secret witness list compiled by the Justice 1 committee and leaked to the Sunday Herald reveals that as well as McKie and the four Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) experts who misidentified her print, Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, and Jim Wallace, a former justice minister, will also be called to give evidence.

In a signal that the committee is determined to have its inquiry taken seriously, it is also understood there is a growing feeling that all witnesses should be forced to take an oath before giving evidence. Such a move would be unprecedented and would open the door to the prosecution of individuals found to have lied to the committee.

Only during the Lobbygate inquiry in 1999 – when Jack McConnell faced the parliament’s standards committee – has a Scottish minister been required to swear that they will tell the truth before answering questions from their parliamentary colleagues.

Since it was set up last month, the inquiry has been dogged by accusations that it is a sop to ministers who have refused to grant a full judicial investigation into the affair. Its limited timescale has also drawn criticism that it cannot hope to tease out the truth.

But the leaked paper reveals that the inquiry timetable will be extended beyond its original June deadline, and it will continue hearing evidence on the scandal into September.

It was in February that the debacle hit the headlines when McKie, a former policewoman wrongly accused of leaving her thumbprint at a crime scene, was given a £750,000 settlement minutes before her court case against the Scottish Executive was to be heard.

First Minister Jack McConnell subsequently claimed that experts who had identified McKie’s print were guilty only of an “honest mistake”.

However, a leaked report by James Mackay, the former deputy chief constable of Tayside Police, has alleged “criminality” and a “cover-up” on the part of the four SCRO experts. The SCRO experts insist that no mistake was made in the identification.

The mettle of the committee will be put to the test over the witness John MacLeod, a forensic expert who wrote a secret report on the McKie print in 2004 for the Scottish Executive.

Although cited to appear next month, the Executive has refused to make his report public and has said he will “not be in a position” to speak about the report because he has a confidentiality agreement.

Under current rules, even if MacLeod gives evidence under oath, the justice committee is powerless to make him talk about it. However, it is thought that members are prepared to go to the Court of Session to force the Executive to reveal the report, seen as crucial because it will show what ministers were told about the affair long before it was settled.

The committee could also face down the Scottish Executive by using the courts to overturn the confidentiality agreement.

MacLeod, who has so far remained silent on the issue, revealed to the Sunday Herald that he felt “gagged” by the Scottish Executive.

“I would go and answer questions, but I am gagged at the moment,” he said. “There is just no point in me going, I don’t think, unless I can talk about the report. And I just can’t do that.”

Last night, Iain McKie, Shirley’s father, revealed that he was writing to Pauline McNeill, the Labour convener of the Justice 1 committee, urging her to place every witness under oath.

McNeill confirmed she was “considering” having witnesses put on oath before giving evidence, and using the Court of Session to recover documents, including the MacLeod report.

“It looks to me that we will be exploring new territory in how we can use our powers,” she said.

McNeill added: “The committee will be interested in hearing about facts – not opinion.”

14 May 2006


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Reply with quote  #32 
18 May 2006
MCKIE 'WAS IN MURDER HOUSE'
 
MSPs hear cop claim....

FINGERPRINT case policewoman Shirley McKie was allowed into a murder scene because a cop "fancied her", MSPs were told yesterday.

The claim was made in new evidence presented to a Holyrood committee investigating the case.

McKie was awarded £750,000 compensation in an out-of-court settlement after experts wrongly identified her prints at the home of murder victim Marion Ross in 1997.

She has always denied entering the scene.

But an investigator yesterday claimed to have evidence that McKie did enter Mrs Ross's Kilmarnock home.

Les Brown, are tired Strathclyde detective chief inspector, said he had been told an officer guarding the murder scene let her in.

 

In written evidence, he said: "This officer had stated that he might be in trouble because he had allowed Shirley McKie into the murder house, but, at her request, had not 'logged her in'.

"When asked why, he replied, 'Because I fancied her'."

Brown investigated the case on behalf of four Scottish fingerprint experts who originally identified McKie's prints on a door.

Other documents showed the experts still believe they were right - although ministers believe they made an "honest mistake".

One of the four, Anthony McKenna, said: "My first concern is the stance by the committee that a mistake or mistakes have been made.

"My colleagues and I do not believe this to be the case."

The claims were dismissed in written evidence from McKie's father, Ian McKie.

He said the only way to restore confidence in the fingerprint service was for experts from the Scottish Criminal Records Office to admit mistakes were made.

The Justice 1 committee will continue to investigate the case for several months.

McKie is no longer a policewoman.

 

ferrisconspiracy VIEW:

 

Les Brown has been drafted in to discredit Shirley McKay by the SCRO and he fits the bill well.

 

Big Les has been known to be more than economical with the truth in the past when he wrote his book 'Glasgow Crime-fighter' in which he claims it is a work of FACT.

 

However within the contents of the book he stated that he has never heard of McGraw being a POLICE GRASS?

 

Very strange when everyone else has!

 

Now the SCRO wheel this crime-buster out to provide at best hearsay evidence and much like his book should be categorised as pure FICTION.

 

RELATED TOPIC FOR LES BROWN & THE SCRO:

MONKEYS can string "words" together to communicate just like humans, experts claimed yesterday.

Researchers from St Andrews University found putty-nosed monkeys in west Africa shared the human ability to combine different sounds to mean different things.


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Reply with quote  #33 

Ministers must not use government resources for

Party political purposes.

 

They must uphold the political impartiality of the

Civil Service and not ask civil servants to act in

any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code.

 

By oldbill


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Reply with quote  #34 

SCRO employee Fiona McBride said that decision had left her "upset and furious".

She said: "How could all four of us make an honest mistake at the one time in one case, when we had been 100% error free one year before and one year after.

"It is not possible".

Labour MSP Ken MacIntosh believes an inquiry should ask why the Scottish Executive did not back its public servants.

"These officers thought that their interests would be defended by their employers, by the public service," he said.

"That has not turned out to be the case, and so they are now looking for the chance to tell their side of the story.

We have mounting evidence, including from a senior police officer, that criminality was involved
Nicola Sturgeon
SNP Holyrood leader

"They are honest people who are working in the public service and they have been doing their job diligently."

There have also been calls for an inquiry from the Scottish Conservatives, who said confidence needed to be restored in the fingerprint service.

However, Mr McKie said he wanted an investigation because he believed the actions against his daughter were "malicious".

"Let a court or an inquiry judge it," he said.

"I am not going to judge it. Let's have an open inquiry, let's put our cards on the table."

'Cloud of suspicion'

It has also emerged that the Scottish National Party MSP Alex Neil is planning to table a motion of no confidence in Lord Advocate Colin Boyd.

The party's Holyrood leader Nicola Sturgeon said: "We have mounting evidence, including from a senior police officer, that criminality was involved, that there could have been a criminal conspiracy.

"Now that must be investigated independently. If it is not, then the cloud of suspicion will hang over our justice system and that is simply not acceptable."

The justice department said there was no need for a further inquiry into the case.


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'We are she': protest song pays tribute to McKie...

SHIRLEY McKie, the former detective at the centre of one the biggest justice rows of recent years, has received the ultimate accolade: a protest song.

Leading Scottish folk singer and poet Michael Marra has written a song condemning the "lies" surrounding the case.

 

The McKie case has convulsed the legal and political establishment in recent months after the Scottish Executive agreed to pay her £750,000 compensation for an "honest mistake".

McKie was wrongly accused, on the basis of flawed fingerprint evidence, of unauthorised access to a murder scene, but was acquitted at trial.

Now she has an ally in the shape of 54-year old Dundonian Marra. He said he was inspired to pen the protest song when he had his own fingerprints routinely taken by Customs in Washington last month, where he was performing as part of Tartan Week.

He said: "I'm not a troublemaker, but I just didn't like it. Then it struck me: I didn't do anything for Shirley McKie. I felt guilty. I admired the woman because she just kept telling the truth. I did it [the song] in one full shift overnight."

Marra's lyrics appear to be looking at the universal implications of McKie's battle to clear her name. It opens: "I am Shirley McKie/She is me and I am she/You are too, Shirley is you/We are she because Shirley is we."

Marra's lyrics also refer to First Minister, Jack McConnell, standing naked in the eyes of the "truth" in a thinly-veiled attack on the "lies" surrounding the McKie case.

Marra writes: "We lecture children if they're telling lies/They will not prosper and they will not thrive... /And even the First Minister must sometimes stand naked."

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament's inquiry is due to hear from McKie this week, but the former policewoman's presence is now in doubt.

She and her father Iain are understood to be concerned that the inquiry will be tantamount to her going "on trial" again.

Iain McKie has written to Pauline McNeill MSP, the convener of the Justice 1 committee, asking that the committee agrees from the start that the disputed print was not his daughter's.

Failure to do so, McKie wrote, "would render any definitive conclusions by the enquiry impossible, and instead of adding clarity to the situation would plunge us into allegation and counter allegation about matters that have already been judicially and otherwise settled".

If the committee does not agree, there is a chance Shirley McKie will refuse to attend.

McKie has also asked for all witnesses to placed under oath, following the publication of submissions he claims have peddled lies about his daughter.

 

****************************************************

 

Website 'lies' threaten McKie appearance...

 

SHIRLEY McKie, the police officer falsely accused of leaving her fingerprint at a crime scene, is reconsidering her planned appearance at a parliamentary inquiry after the publication of "hurtful" remarks on the website of the Justice 1 Committee, who are carrying out the inquiry.

Iain McKie, who is campaigning on his daughter's behalf,

has written to the parliament's Presiding Officer to complain and said his daughter is so distraught they are reconsidering her appearance before the inquiry on Tuesday.

Two former policemen have submitted documents claiming they have heard of an officer who gave Ms McKie access to the house of murder victim, Marion Ross. In a letter to The Scotsman today, Mr McKie called the statements "unsubstantiated lies".

 

*******************************************************

 

... Watch the Justice 1 Committee live - 10 am Wednesday ... McKay Report: The report that the LA tried to ban ... that the evidence offered against Shirley by the authorities.

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Reply with quote  #36 

UPDATE:

 

"There is a lot of good people in Strathclyde Police and a lot of good people in the SCRO, but the people who have done this and are responsible for this know who they are.

 

"I do hope that the people responsible are made to be accountable for what they have done. There are serious criminal charges should come from this.

 

"It has been obvious for years there were criminal goings on in this case and it has been continually covered up,"

 

Shirley McKie.


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Reply with quote  #37 

McKie gives print probe evidence
Iain and Shirley McKie
Shirley McKie and father Iain will both answer questions from MSPs
The Scottish parliamentary inquiry into the questions raised by the case of Shirley McKie is to take evidence from the former detective.

In a highly unusual development, Ms McKie will be accompanied before the Justice 1 Committee by a team of legal advisers.

Ms McKie is understood to have sought reassurances about the nature of the questioning she faces on Tuesday.

She was cleared of leaving a print at a murder scene in 1997.

Ms McKie's father Iain, who will also give evidence to the committee, said he was more confident the inquiry could help to clear up some of the outstanding questions raised by the case.

The 30 witnesses include Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson and her predecessor Jim Wallace.

Cash settlement

Ms McKie was accused of leaving her print at the home of Kilmarnock murder victim Marion Ross.

She was later cleared and recently received £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Ministers have described the events as "an honest mistake".

Scottish Criminal Records Office staff have strenuously denied any allegations of wrong-doing.


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Info for anyone online now. Shirley McKie is giving evidence live now at the Justice 1 commitee.

http://www.holyrood.tv/committee.asp

 

(click on committee room 2 live stream)

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Reply with quote  #39 

Hi Magpie...thanks for the heads up on that one.  Will tune in now...


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Hi Admin and all.

Hugh Ferry, Former Director of the Scottish Criminal Record Office is giving evidence on live stream now.

 

 

17th Meeting, Tuesday 23 May 2006

The Committee will meet at 2 pm in Committee Room 2.

  1. Items in private: The Committee will consider whether to take items 4 and 5 in private. The Committee will also consider whether to consider the main themes arising from the oral evidence sessions on its inquiry into the Scottish Criminal Record Office in private, at future meetings, in order to inform the drafting of its report.

  2. Scottish Criminal Record Office inquiry: The Committee will take evidence from—

    Shirley McKie, Iain McKie and Andrew Smith QC

    and then from

    Hugh Ferry, Former Director of the Scottish Criminal Record Office

  3. Scottish Criminal Record Office inquiry: The Committee will consider whether to delegate to the Convener responsibility for arranging for the SPCB to pay under Rule 12.4.3, any expenses of witnesses in relation to the inquiry.

  4. Scottish Criminal Record Office inquiry: The Committee will consider whether to accept written evidence received after the deadline for submission of written evidence.

  5. Scottish Criminal Record Office inquiry: The Committee will consider the main themes arising from the evidence sessions to date on the inquiry, in order to inform the drafting of its report.

Last Meeting: 16th Meeting, Wednesday 17 May 2006


Update:
He's not doing great in my view. Contradicting himself......
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Reply with quote  #41 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie

Update:
He's not doing great in my view. Contradicting himself......

Hi Magpie...thanks for the update, and I agree with you wholeheartedly on your view, posted above.


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Watch  Again: Shirley McKie Hearing

http://www.holyrood.tv/library.asp?iPid=3&section=21&title=Justice+1

 

---------------------------------------------------------

BBC News Tuesday, 23 May 2006

 

McKie inquiry sees tempers flare
 
Shirley McKie
Shirley McKie was angered by questioning over her case
There have been angry exchanges at the Scottish parliamentary inquiry into the issues raised by the Shirley McKie fingerprint case.

In the face of questioning before the Justice 1 Committee, Ms McKie and her father Iain accused MSPs of attempting to retry her for perjury.

Ms McKie was cleared of leaving a print at a murder scene in 1997.

She said she believed the people responsible for her misidentification were still working and still lying.

The former detective, who appeared before the committee accompanied by legal adviser Andrew Smith QC, is understood to have sought reassurances about the nature of the questioning she was to face from MSPs.

Question objections

Her father, Mr McKie, had said he was confident the inquiry could help to clear up some of the outstanding questions raised by the case.

But he raised objections to the line of questioning from MSPs taking part in proceedings and at one stage Ms McKie said she would refuse to answer questions she was not happy with.

Des McNulty MSP asked Mr Smith about a report by independent fingerprint expert Peter Swann that had identified the mark as belonging to Ms McKie.

Ms McKie said: "Are you actually putting me on trial again, are you actually questioning my integrity, is that what you're doing?

"I'm here to assist this inquiry and I just do not see the relevance of these questions and I'm totally insulted by them."

You have just read out a totally biased version of what happened in court
Iain McKie

She told him: "The reason Mr Swann wasn't used for the defence was he was wrong and incompetent.

"I answered every single question at my trial honestly, unlike some people."

Mr McNulty read out part of the transcript from her perjury trial in May 1999, when she had said she did not know who had examined the fingerprint mark.

He then referred to a letter dating from March from Ms McKie to her lawyers, asking about the brief prepared for Mr Swann.

The Labour MSP said: "Does that not seem to be a slightly strange juxtaposition."

Mr McKie said: "You have just read out a totally biased version of what happened in court.

"My daughter didn't lie at that trial."

Shirley McKie and Iain McKie
Ms McKie appeared before the committee with her father Iain McKie

Mr Smith explained to the committee a "professional decision" was taken by Ms McKie's legal team, then led by Donald Findlay QC, not to use Mr Swann's report.

A suggestion that the dispute could have been caused by a simple difference of opinion between experts was rejected by Mr McKie.

Nationalist MSP Bruce McFee said: "Some people suggest this is down to a difference of opinion."

But Mr McKie insisted: "It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact that the SCRO have got it wrong."

Ms McKie later clashed with Labour's Kenneth Macintosh.

The Eastwood MSP represents some of the SCRO fingerprint experts at the centre of the row and told the committee they had suffered as a result of the affair as well.

He was asked by Mr McKie: "Are you accusing my daughter of perjury?"

He denied this, but Ms McKie said: "You are, you are and it's disgusting."

She added: "I'm refusing to answer any more of these questions, if it's the same lies you are going to open up."

Cash settlement

The 30 witnesses who will appear before the committee include Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson and her predecessor Jim Wallace.

Ms McKie was accused of leaving her print at the home of Kilmarnock murder victim Marion Ross.

She was later cleared and recently received £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Ministers have described the events as "an honest mistake".

Scottish Criminal Records Office staff have strenuously denied any allegations of wrong-doing.

 

 

See Ms Mckie giving her evidence
 


FINGER OF SUSPICION


LATEST NEWS


Tempers flare
Angry exchanges as Shirley McKie gives evidence to MSPs


LEGAL BATTLE

-----------------------------

McKie case documents online
 
The full versions of three documents in the Shirley McKie fingerprint controversy have been placed in the public domain for the first time.

The papers were passed "in a brown envelope" to Edinburgh South Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle. In turn they were given to BBC Scotland and can be read via the links on this page.

The documents comprise a 58-page report by James MacKay, who was asked in June 2000 to investigate how Ms McKie's print was wrongly identified at the beginning of the case in 1997.

At the time, Mr MacKay was deputy chief constable of Tayside Police.

READ THE DOCUMENTS



Most computers will open this document automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

Another of the documents is a precognition (legal notes of an interview) given by Mr MacKay and the third is another precognition, this time given by Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Robertson, who was also investigating the McKie case.

In his precognition, Mr MacKay said he was "disappointed and surprised" that no-one within the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) had been prosecuted.

The Scottish Parliament's Justice 1 Committee has begun an inquiry into the Scottish Fingerprint Service, prompted by the McKie case.

MSPs heard last month that most experts in the main fingerprint bureau continued to believe that a print left at a murder scene belonged to Ms McKie.

The committee meets on Thursday to discuss the timetable and potential witnesses who will give evidence to the inquiry.

--------------------------------------------------------


McKie case opens door to hundreds of appeals, claims QC

TOM GORDON, Scottish Political Correspondent May 25 2006
Hundreds of prisoners convicted on fingerprint evidence may have grounds for appeal as a result of the Holyrood hearing into the Shirley McKie case, a QC claimed yesterday.
Maggie Scott, chair of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association, said there seemed to be a systematic failure by the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) and the Crown Office to tell defendants when fingerprint identifications had been disputed.
Last year a landmark ruling by the Privy Council said that failure to disclose information amounted to a breach of human rights and hence grounds for appeal.
Ms Scott was speaking in light of evidence given to Holyrood's Justice 1 committee on Tuesday by Hugh Kelly, the head of the SCRO in the late 1990s.
The committee is looking at how the SCRO and its fingerprint service dealt with Ms McKie, the former Strathclyde police officer wrongly accused of intruding on a murder scene in 1997 after a print was incorrectly identified as hers by four SCRO experts.
During Tuesday's session, Mr Kelly said if there had been dissent among SCRO experts about a print's identity, a "case conference" was held by a senior expert and three or four others.
Asked by Alex Neil, the SNP MSP, if the Crown would be informed about such dissent, Mr Kelly said: "I would expect not." Mr Kelly said that, so long as a senior expert was confident of an identification, prints were passed as evidence to the Crown.
He also said it was possible SCRO officers may hold numerous meetings with different experts until there was a consensus.
Ms Scott said it was astonishing that defendants were not told if fingerprints used against them were disputed within the SCRO. She told The Herald: "There could now be a whole range of cases that might have to be looked at."
She said uncertainty over how the SCRO identified fingerprints was one of the most compelling reasons for holding a full public inquiry into the McKie case, something the Scottish Executive have so far resisted. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said it would not comment on evidence as it emerged during the inquiry.

----------------------------------------------------------
 

Further paper's re: Justice1 committee to Scottish Executive etc..

 

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/justice1/papers-06/j1p06-17.pdf

 

 

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Reply with quote  #43 
Experts question fingerprint evidence
Fingerprinting
The case highlighted flaws in the use of fingerprinting
Politicians and forensic scientists have backed the case of a former policewoman who stood trial for perjury.

Shirley McKie was a detective with Strathclyde Police when in 1997 she was charged with the offence for denying that a thumbprint at the scene of a crime was hers.

Four experts from the Glasgow-based Scottish Criminal Records Office said the print belonged to her.

But Ms McKie always maintained she was never inside the house and in 1999 she was found not guilty of perjury at the High Court in Glasgow.

Independent inquiry

However, the head of the SCRO insisted the fingerprint identification was sound.

The case, which was highlighted by the BBC Frontline Scotland documentary programme, is now the subject of an independent inquiry.

Its investigation raised serious questions about the procedures being used in Scotland's fingerprint labs.


Mike Russell
Mike Russell: Seeking assurances

The probe began on Monday and will look at how fingerprint evidence is used in Scotland.

It will also investigate the work of the Scottish Criminal Records Office.

Ms McKie visited the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday where - along with her supporters who included international fingerprint experts - she urged Justice Minister Jim Wallace to shed light on why she was subject to legal proceedings.

Fingerprint specialists from Lothian and Borders Police said the SCRO officers were guilty of gross incompetence at best, and, at worst, of unparalleled conspiracy.

Wider public

South of Scotland MSP Mike Russell, who met Ms McKie at the parliament, has been seeking assurances from the Scottish Executive that the inquiry into the activities of the SCRO will not be a whitewash.

He added: "I am delighted to welcome Shirley McKie to the Scottish Parliament and to help bring her case to wider attention.

"I am also very pleased to meet the American fingerprint experts who played such a crucial role at the eleventh hour to prevent a serious miscarriage of justice.

"This case cost Ms McKie her career and has caused enormous distress."


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Five cases

SCRO evidence has been in doubt... 

THERE have been five contested print identifications by the

Scottish Criminal Record Office in the past decade.

 

The first and best-known involved a print found at the home of

murder victim Marion Ross in 1997. Shirley McKie, then a Strathclyde

police officer, was accused of entering the murder scene.

 

However, she proved the print was not hers and was later awarded

£750,000 compensation by the Executive after being wrongly accused

of perjury.

 

It was then revealed a second print had been misidentified as that of

Mrs Ross. It was found on a tin at the home of David Asbury, who was

jailed for the murder.

 

However, it was later proved the print had been misidentified

and he was released.

 

In June 2000, the Crown Office discovered a man was about to

be prosecuted on the basis of flawed fingerprint evidence by the

Glasgow bureau.

 

Details of the case have not been revealed, but the

error came to light when prosecutors asked the SCRO to

prepare its evidence for trial.

 

In 2003, fingerprint evidence compiled by the SCRO was sent by

solicitors working for Mark Sinclair, a man charged with armed robbery,

to an independent expert who was unable to support their analysis.

 

The Crown had to ditch the case.

 

The fifth case involves a palm print found at a robbery.

 

The SCRO had linked it to a man accused of the robbery,

but two independent experts contest this.

 

The SCRO said fingerprint evidence was not used in court if its

reliability was contested.

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BBC NEWS Tuesday, 30 May 2006

 

Print experts stand by McKie ID
 
Fingerprint experts giving evidence before the Justice 1 Committee
The experts were questioned over the Shirley McKie case
Fingerprint officers at the centre of the Shirley McKie case have told MSPs they still believed a print found at a murder scene nine years ago was hers.

Hugh Macpherson, Fiona McBride, Anthony McKenna and Charles Stewart identified a print found at the Kilmarnock home of murder victim Marion Ross in 1997.

Ms McKie denied the print was hers and was later cleared of perjury, leading to the four officers being suspended.

The officers told MSPs they never felt under any pressure to identify a print.

The identification would still remain the same
Hugh Macpherson
Fingerprint expert

They were giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) at the Justice 1 Committee.

Mr Macpherson was the first officer to have identified the controversial print as Ms McKie's.

He said: "All the procedures we followed were in line with the procedures laid down at the time.

"A lot has been made of procedures then and procedures now, but the identification would still remain the same."

Ms McKie received £750,000 from the Scottish Executive in an out-of-court settlement.

The initials of staff who checked a photograph of the "Y7" fingerprint were put on the back but the four officers denied there was anything sinister in this and that it was done for tracking reasons.

Shirley McKie
Shirley McKie appeared before the committee last week

Ms McBride also rejected claims that there had ever been any pressure on staff at the SCRO's Glasgow office to identify a print.

"In the SCRO we were trained to look at a mark from every angle to make sure you're absolutely certain of your own decision," she said.

"There's no pressure on you whatsoever."

Experts look for 16 key points of similarity between two prints.

Mr Macpherson said his colleague, Alister Geddes, who was second to look at the McKie print, had only found 10 points of comparison on the print - not 16.

'No dispute'

However, Mr Geddes was still satisfied that the print was Ms McKie's, the officer told the committee.

"Mr Geddes was happy that the identification was signed," he said.

"If Mr Geddes had come back to me and said 'that's not an identification', I would've been duty bound to go to the chief inspector and say 'we have a dispute here'.

Holyrood's Justice 1 Committee
The Holyrood committee is investigating the McKie case

"But that wasn't the case, there was no dispute over the identification of the thumb print."

All four experts insisted that fingerprint Y7 was the left thumbprint of Shirley McKie.

When asked if the case could be classed as an "honest mistake", Mr Macpherson replied: "We believe there was no mistake."

Mr Stewart said the interpretation of Pat Wertheim, an American expert who said the print did not belong to Ms McKie, was "completely wrong".

He said he and his colleagues had been the victims of a "one-sided campaign" as they had been unable to speak out to defend themselves.

 
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