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THE Scottish Executive last night resisted calls for an inquiry into operations at the Scottish Criminal Record Office, despite claims of yet another misidentified fingerprint.

Independent experts and lawyers - who fear other innocent people may have been jailed due to mistakes at the SCRO - said Jack McConnell, the First Minister, had to act for the sake of the Scottish justice system.

 

The Scotsman reported yesterday that the palm print of a man accused of housebreaking was questioned by his defence team. Three fingerprint experts called in concluded that the SCRO was wrong.

Meanwhile, it has been claimed that the Shirley McKie case is only the "tip of the iceberg". The former detective was accused of entering a murder scene in 1997, but later proved the fingerprint in question was not hers and was awarded £750,000 compensation.

The SCRO, in charge of examining fingerprint evidence, admits three other cases have been questioned in the last decade.

But Allan Bayle, an independent fingerprint expert, who described Scottish fingerprint services in Glasgow as the "worst in the world", said there could be many more.

"There are guilty people running around on the streets and there are innocent people in prison," he said.

Maggie Scott, the chairwoman of the Criminal Bar Association, added: "Our concerns are there have been other miscarriages of justice.

"It cannot go on as it is, the very reputation of the system is at stake."

The Scottish Executive said the work of the SCRO improved dramatically following the McKie case. But after the fifth possible misidentification was exposed, politicians fear that only closure of the Glasgow branch of the SCRO and a judicial inquiry will restore public confidence in the system.

Mr Bayle was asked to look at a palm print left at the scene of a robbery. The SCRO believes the print was left by a man accused of breaking into the premises.

However, Mr Bayle and his colleague, John MacLeod, said the print was falsely identified. The case against the accused man was later dropped, although the Crown Office claims it was not because the fingerprint evidence was contested.

Mr Bayle said: "Solicitors think fingerprints are God. They are not. They are not challenged enough. It is only the tip of the iceberg. I think now there are innocent people in prison."

Ms Scott said he was worried that fingerprint services were not telling lawyers when prints were disputed.

He said: "We are concerned evidence is not being properly reviewed or disclosed. Our concerns are there have been other miscarriages of justice. It is particularly worrying there has been an ongoing case this week where evidence is questioned."

Iain McKie said the latest mistake was the strongest evidence yet for a public judicial inquiry into his daughter's case and the work of the SCRO as a whole.

Alex Neil, the SNP MSP who has campaigned on behalf of Ms McKie, added: "I do not see how the Executive can resist calls for an inquiry which not only looks at the McKie case but all the misidentifications since then."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said that the SCRO was operating effectively within the justice system and to international standards.

System blamed for errors

JOHN MacLeod has blamed the system in Scotland for misidentifying a palm print. The leading fingerprint expert believes this is the fifth misidentification by the SCRO in a decade.

"I do not think the checking is as rigorous as it should be - well it certainly is not," he said.

Mr MacLeod said if experts had not looked at the print, the accused could have been found guilty for a crime they did not commit.

"These are the ones we know about. What about the ones we do not know about? I certainly think it should be investigated thoroughly." Mr MacLeod wrote two reports for the Lord Advocate into the McKie case but they have never been made public.

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MSPs demand McKie case documents
Holyrood's Justice 1 Committee
The case sparked an inquiry by the Holyrood committee
A Holyrood committee has demanded that the Scottish Executive hand over reports into the Shirley McKie case.

The lord advocate and justice minister have refused to give the documents, written by fingerprint experts and a senior police officer, to MSPs.

The executive said there were sound reasons for not releasing the reports, one of which was leaked to the media.

Now the Justice 1 Committee, which has launched an inquiry following the case, has voted to request the documents.

The committee's members, including three Labour MPs and one Liberal Democrat, were unanimously in favour of the move.

READ THE MACKAY REPORT

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Ms McKie, from Troon in Ayrshire, was cleared of lying on oath in 1999 after insisting that she had not left a fingerprint at a murder scene in Kilmarnock.

She received £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement from the Scottish Executive, which said an honest mistake had been made in "good faith".

The case prompted the Justice 1 Committee to launch an inquiry into the Scottish fingerprint service.

The four fingerprint experts at the centre of the controversy told MSPs this week that they stood by the original identification.

The committee has now called for four reports to be handed over.

Iain and Shirley McKie
Shirley McKie received compensation from the executive

One is an unpublished report compiled by former Tayside Deputy Chief Constable James MacKay.

He was asked by the lord advocate to investigate how Ms McKie's print was wrongly identified.

His report was released to the media last month by Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle, along with precognition statements made by Mr MacKay and by Det Ch Supt Scott Robertson.

The politician said he received the documents in a brown envelope.

Mr MacKay said in his report that "institutional arrogance" in the fingerprint service led to a criminal course of action.

We need the full evidence to be made available so that the committee can undertake as detailed an investigation as possible
Nicola Sturgeon
SNP Holyrood leader

The committee also voted to ask the executive release two reports by fingerprint expert John MacLeod, commissioned as part of its defence of a civil action by Ms McKie, and one by independent expert Michael Pass.

The Scottish National Party's Holyrood leader Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the committee's move.

"It's about time the Labour and Lib Dem government came clean on this matter and released these vital reports to the committee so that they can conduct a proper investigation," she said.

"Without these reports, the parliament's inquiry into the Shirley McKie case will be hamstrung.

"We need the full evidence to be made available so that the committee can undertake as detailed an investigation as possible."

The executive has told the committee that there are sound legal principles for not releasing the reports.


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Gagged court expert attacks SCRO...

A FORENSICS expert gagged by the Scottish Executive over the Shirley McKie case has broken his silence to condemn standards at the national fingerprint agency.

John MacLeod, who was hired by ministers to examine the McKie case and then banned from speaking about his findings, said the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) was "arrogant" and should not be in charge of fingerprinting.

 

MacLeod, speaking for the first time about the McKie case, said SCRO staff often justified their findings on the grounds that, "This print is someone's print because I say it is."

MacLeod, who works for a private forensics firm in London, was hired by the Executive two years ago to analyse the McKie prints as ministers prepared to defend a legal action.

The case was abandoned earlier this year and McKie, a former police officer, was paid £750,000 compensation after ministers claimed an "honest mistake" had been made in identifying her fingerprints at the scene of a murder.

He is still unable to speak directly about his reports to ministers because of a confidentiality agreement. MacLeod has even been banned from speaking to the Holyrood inquiry into the case.

But while he cannot discuss the findings of his report, MacLeod has decided to speak out about the SCRO's failings, which he believes are ongoing despite government assurances the agency has been reformed. MacLeod said: "There is an arrogance to the SCRO. Their view in court is that, 'This print is someone's print because I say it is.'"

He added: "The culture appears to be one of, 'What I say is right because I say it.' It is one of 'I see this as an ident [a match] because I have been doing this longer than you.' That is the ethos and I think that is wrong."

MacLeod also criticised the changes to Scotland's fingerprint service. The Glasgow-based SCRO, along with fingerprint bureaux in Aberdeen and Edinburgh are to be brought under one umbrella in a move which will increase the SCRO's nationwide influence.

He said: "I don't think the SCRO should be in charge of the Scottish Fingerprint Service and I feel sorry for the staff in Aberdeen and Edinburgh who had their names dragged through the mud over this."

MacLeod said he would be happy to offer evidence to the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into the affair, even though he would be unable to discuss the nature of his reports. Asked whether the Executive should publish his findings, he said: "It is their report and it is up to them to decide."

In 1997, SCRO experts accused McKie of unauthorised presence at a crime scene. After insisting under oath that she had not been there, she was tried for perjury, only to be found not guilty. In February, ministers tried to draw a line under the case by paying compensation.

But the affair has failed to die down and the Executive still faces demands for a public inquiry. This newspaper recently revealed details of a report by Jim MacKay, former deputy chief constable of Tayside Police, which found the SCRO had been guilty of "criminality" and "cover-up" in the case.

MacLeod's reports are seen as crucial as they would show exactly what ministers were told about the case.

Campaigners last night described MacLeod's comments as devastating. SNP leader Alex Salmond said: "It is now clear that when both the Mackay and the MacLeod reports were suppressed it had nothing to do with convention or protocol and everything to do with saving face."

Salmond added: "It has been a total abdication of ministerial responsibility to allow this situation to fester, given the ramifications both internally for the Scottish justice system and for its international responsibility."

Iain McKie, Shirley McKie's father, said: "Mr MacLeod is to be commended for speaking out like this. The root problem at the SCRO is one of openness and accountability."

Former Scotland Yard forensics expert, Alan Bayle, another critic of the SCRO, said: "There is still a culture of arrogance there and until they apologise over what happened with Shirley McKie then I don't think we can move forward."

A spokeswoman for the SCRO said: "Much good work has been done to improve training, processes and practices and we continue to have every confidence in our staff who deliver a sound professional service."

An Executive spokesman said: "We agree it's important not to be complacent about the Scottish Fingerprint Service but there is a wealth of evidence that the Scottish Fingerprint Service of the SCRO is generally delivering a high-quality service for Scotland's criminal justice system and it is important to recognise the real progress that has been made since 2000."


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8 June 2006
EXPERTS CLASH ON MCKIE FINGERPRINT...

FINGERPRINT experts clashed at Holyrood yesterday as a probe continued into the Scottish case which caused an international furore.

Forensic experts from as far afield as Holland and the USA lined up to insist a print found at a murder scene could not have belonged to former policewoman Shirley McKie.

But the Scottish forensic team who first claimed the prints DID belong to McKie were backed - by an expert once called upon by the ex-cop's own defence.

Peter Swann said the case had now been labelled "The Scotch Botch" - but insisted: "The Scotch haven't botched anything."

The two sides made their case at a marathon parliamentary inquiry into the fingerprint service yesterday.

McKie, from Troon, Ayrshire, has always denied being in Marion Ross's Kilmarnock home in January 1997, while she was serving as a detective with Strathclyde Police.

 

During the trial of David Astbury for the murder, she denied being in the house and was subsequently charged with perjury but found not guilty.

She sued the Executive in the civil courts and went on to receive £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement this year.

Yesterday, Dutch expert Arie Zeelenberg insisted there was no way the print in the house - known as Y7 - belonged to McKie.

He told MSPs that he had found more than 20 differences between it and McKie's fingerprint.

And he attacked the Scottish Criminal Records Office fingerprint team over the cropping of images, claiming they had been trying to hide differences between the prints.

He said: "The presentation of productions was not professional, not transparent, not honest, misleading and wrong, and this shows awareness of a large number of discrepancies."

He claimed they had "closed ranks" because they were "caught in a fish trap and not able to swim back".

He told MSPs on the Justice 1 Committee: "It was the closest to malpractice I have seen."

But Peter Swann - originally hired as a defence expert by the McKie team but never called at the perjury trial - insisted the former policewoman had made the print.

He and a colleague found no fewer than 32 matching characteristics between the disputed Y7 mark and McKie's left thumb print, adding: "It's as positive as one can be."

Asked if the SCRO officers who made the original identification had made a mistake he said: "They haven't. I'll vouch for that."

But PatWertheim, the first expert to reject the findings of the SCRO officers, told the committee: "That crime scene mark was not made by Shirley McKie."

The American described the case as the most controversial in the history of fingerprints and said: "In the long run, history will record this case as an erroneous identification by the Glasgow bureau of the SCRO."

Representatives from the Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee fingerprint bureaux all told the committee that they did not believe the print was McKie's.

But last night, Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, who represents a number of the SCRO officers, said: "For the first time, we have actually heard in this case McKie's own defence witness, her own fingerprint expert, testifying in public that he supports the work of the SCRO officers.

"He authenticates their accuracy and I think that is a key message."

 

ARCHIVE:FINGERPRINT images shown in Shirley McKie's court case were manipulated to make them look like they were hers, experts claimed last night.

A series of three images shown to the jury in Ms McKie's perjury case were cropped and blurred to hide details that did not match the policewoman's actual print, experts told the BBC's Frontline Scotland programme.

 

Gary Dempster, of Grampian Police, Pat Weirtheim, from the United States, and Arie Zeelenberg, of Interpol, all concluded that evidence presented by the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) at the trial had been manipulated.

Mr Weirtheim, hired as an expert by the McKie family, said: "These three charts... to me are conclusive proof that the SCRO knew before [the] trial that it was an erroneous identification and ... removed the differences in an attempt to mislead the court."

Mr Dempster, the first Scottish fingerprint expert to criticise the SCRO publicly, made what he confirmed was a "grave allegation"

. He said: "From the information that we have seen, I don't believe it was an honest mistake. I do believe a mistake was made, but I don't see it as an honest mistake."

Mr Zeelenberg, of Interpol's expert working group on fingerprint identification, said: "I conclude [the manipulation] was most likely done dishonestly in order to conceal [conflicting information]."

The allegations refer to fingerprint evidence prepared by four unnamed SCRO officers against Ms McKie at her trial in 1999. She was cleared of perjury when American experts called the SCRO evidence into question.

A spokesman for the Unison trade union said of the SCRO officers: "No criminal charges have been brought against [the four]. I would suggest [that is because] they did not fabricate the evidence."

MSPs yesterday voted against holding a public inquiry into the affair, rejecting an SNP amendment calling for the full-scale probe.

However, MSPs passed a vote making clear ministers would co-operate with any inquiries that parliament may decide on in scrutinising reforms within the fingerprint service.

 

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

SCRO's handling of McKie case was verging on malpractice, says expert.

A DUTCH expert yesterday told MSPs that the work of Scottish fingerprint officers in the Shirley McKie case was "the closest to malpractice I have ever seen".

Arie Zeelenberg, a former head of the national fingerprint department in the Netherlands, said more than 20 clear differences showed that a hotly-disputed print could not belong to the former Strathclyde detective.

Mr Zeelenberg said members of the Scottish fingerprint service's Glasgow bureau had "invented" comparison points to support their position that the print belonged to Ms McKie.

During a marathon evidence session at a parliamentary inquiry into the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO), Mr Zeelenberg clashed with a second expert, Peter Swann, who insisted that the print was made by Ms McKie.

Mr Swann said he and a colleague had found no fewer than 32 matching characteristics between the disputed "Y7" mark and Ms McKie's left thumbprint. "It's as positive as one can be," he said.

But Mr Zeelenberg instead concentrated on the numerous discrepancies he claimed he had found between Y7, which was found at the home of Kilmarnock murder victim Marion Ross in 1997, and Ms McKie's print.

"There are 20-plus differences," he said. There are numerous differences in ridge detail and invented points marked by SCRO, and this is what you may expect with fingerprints coming from a different source."

Ms McKie, from Troon, always denied the print was hers and was later cleared of perjury over the matter.

She went on to receive £750,000 from the Scottish Executive in an out-of-court settlement earlier this year.

But four experts at the SCRO who identified the print as hers have always maintained they were correct, including at the parliamentary inquiry last week.

They say taxpayers' money was wasted in the settlement with the former policewoman.

Controversial "cropped" images of the disputed print presented previously by the SCRO experts were also addressed by Mr Zeelenberg. These led to claims that the Scottish experts had been trying to hide clear differences in the cropped areas between the disputed print and that of Ms McKie.

Mr Zeelenberg said: "Point 19 and 20 are conveniently brought out of sight. The big ones." This indicated that the Scottish experts were being dishonest, according to the Dutch expert.

"I must conclude in general that the presentation of productions was not professional, not transparent, not honest, misleading and wrong, and this shows awareness of a large number of discrepancies," he said.

Mr Swann had originally been asked to look at the print by Iain McKie, Ms McKie's father. But he was dropped from their defence team after concluding that the mark was hers.

Mr Swann said the McKie case had been described by some as the "Scotch botch".

But he argued the original identification was correct, saying: "The Scotch haven't botched anything." He added: "The other one that's been conjured up by ministers, I believe, is an honest mistake."

But he asked who had made the mistake and said it was not the fingerprint officers who made the original identification.

However, Pat Wertheim, the first expert to reject the findings of the SCRO officers, stood by his findings that the identification was wrong. "That crime scene mark was not made by Shirley McKie," he told the committee.

The American described the case as the most controversial in the history of fingerprinting, and said: "History will record this case as an erroneous identification by the Glasgow bureau of the SCRO."

With the session running for five hours, the MSPs were unable to hear from all the witnesses who had attended, and some were told they would have to come back later.

After the hearing, Labour back-bencher Ken Macintosh, the MSP for Eastwood, said he did not know if the differences of opinion about the Y7 print would ever be settled.

Consultant apologises after false accusation

A FINGERPRINT expert at the centre of the Shirley McKie case was forced to apologise yesterday after he wrongly claimed the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) had misidentified a palm print.

Allan Bayle, a consultant on fingerprint issues who previously worked for the Metropolitan Police, had publicly said the SCRO got it wrong over the palm print from a criminal case in February this year.

But it emerged yesterday that a review by the Met has found the original identification to be correct.

Mr Bayle admitted he had got it wrong and told MSPs: "I do apologise to the media and everyone else."

He has said previously that it took him only a "couple of minutes" to see the palm print was not identical and he endorsed calls from the SNP MSP Alex Neil for the closure of the Glasgow fingerprint bureau.

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said new procedures were in place to handle such disputes.

"Following the recent allegations made by Mr Bayle, and in line with these new arrangements, the disputed print was referred to the Met for consideration as soon as possible.

"The Met has confirmed that the original identification by the Glasgow bureau was correct. Mr Bayle has also confirmed that he, too, supports that view," he said.

Mr Bayle was giving evidence at the parliamentary inquiry into the SCRO, instigated after former police detective Ms McKie's print was wrongly identified at the scene of a murder in 1997. He believes the print was not Ms McKie's.


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BBC NEWS Tuesday, 20 June 2006

 

Inquiry to release McKie advice
 
Holyrood's Justice 1 Committee
The committee has decided to release the key MacLeod Report
A confidential report for ministers detailing the Shirley McKie fingerprint case is to be published on Wednesday.

The MacLeod Report has been handed to the parliamentary inquiry, who have decided to make it public.

Ms McKie was cleared of perjury after a fingerprint found at a murder scene was wrongly identified as hers.

Until now Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson has refused to release the report by independent fingerprint expert John MacLeod.

Mr MacLeod had been commissioned by the Scottish Executive as it prepared to defend legal action by Ms McKie, a former detective.

Compensation paid

She sued after being wrongly accused of entering a murder scene and leaving her print in 1997.

After ministers received the MacLeod Report into the fingerprint service they paid the former detective £750,000 compensation.

On Tuesday, the Lord Advocate again refused to release the Mackay Report - a criminal investigation into the service.

It had been made available to BBC Scotland in May and found that failures to address errors in the McKie case by the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) amounted to "criminal action".

The author, James Mackay, refused to answer questions on his report before the Justice 1 Committee inquiry on Tuesday

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Justice 1 Committee Report

J1/S2/06/R5
Contents Previous Next

Written submission from Les Brown

I am Leslie K Brown retired Detective Chief Inspector Strathclyde Police 1956-1983. During my service and whilst in the Flying Squad and Serious Crime Squad I was involved in the investigation of over 200 murders with a 98% clearance rate. Between 1983 and 2000 I was a senior investigator with The Federation Against Copyright Theft.

In 2002 along with two others I formed a voluntary organisation, A Search for Justice, which to date has assisted 32 families to obtain justice when they thought that they had been let down by the police and others. On 5-3-06 this organisation was disbanded after a telephone conversation between one of the co-founders and Ian McKie. It would appear that McKie knowing that I had agreed to assist the SCRO officers involved in the Shirley McKie case had threatened to sue. The others took cold feet but I didn’t and have continued my investigations.

On 25-2-06 I was contacted by Fiona McBride SCRO Officer who sought my assistance relating to their involvement in the McKie case which I gave willingly.

Eighteen months ago I submitted reports to the Chief Constable Strathclyde Police and Crown Office that I had been told by a retired police officer that whilst he had been on dock duty at Paisley High Court, 'about 4 years ago' he had shared dock duty with a constable from Kilmarnock. 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".

I suggested in my reports that if a list was drawn up of the officers on duty at that High Court and a similar list of those on 'door duty' at the murder house in Kilmarnock the same name would appearon both lists. I do not know if this was ever done.

During my investigations I have discovered the following facts.

In May 98 Shirley McKie and her father travelled to Wakefield in Yorkshirewhere theymet Peter Swanninternationally acclaimed fingerprint expert. The purpose of the visit was to have Swann examine two sets of fingerprint impressions, one of Shirley and the other of the suspect fingerprint found at the murder house. Swann did so and told them the fingerprints matched.

On 2-3-99 Swann travelled to Glasgow and at the High Court Production room in the presence of Donald Finlay QC compared the fingerprint of Shirley McKie with that ofa fingerprint on the door standard lodged as a Production. Again Swann found that both matched.

During a telephone conversation with Swann I asked, "On a Richter scale of ten how good was the match "He replied "Eleven".

On 11-11-98Herbert Kerrigan QCrepresenting the McKies met with Swann at his Wakefield office and discussedthe case.

For some unknown reason shortly thereafter Mr Kerrigan fades from the investigation. (I have contacted his office in effort to find out why)

On 11-5-99 at the High Court where Shirley McKie was on Trial on a charge of Perjury. I have a transcript of the trial from which I quote.

Advocate Depute Question, "Do you seriously not know whether the print was shown to anyone before Mr Wertheim"?

Answer. I don’t know who has examined the fingerprint.

Question. So you don’tknow whether or not anyone else looked at the print .Is that your evidence?

Answer."No I don’t know".

NB. It is obvious to me that the A.D. was attempting to introduce Swann into the questioning, what I don’t understand is why he didn’t simply ask the question, "Do you know a man Peter Swann from Wakefield"?

At the end of the perjury Trial Lord Johnstonaddressed the jury as follows,

"But thefact remains that she has told you she is innocent and if you believeher that’s the end of the matter and you need take the matter nofurther. If you are satisfied to that effect simply conclude that she is an honest and straightforward witness and you can come back to me in five minutes time and tell me you needn’t take the matter any further and you needn’t even start to consider the question of fingerprints"?

He is referring to an accused person who has justcommitted perjury. Is it any wonder that the SCRO Officers complained to me thatthey are being denied justice.

McBride had complained to me that she and her colleagues were not receiving any support from the media anything that was printed or said appeared to be prejudicial to their cause. I decided to try an experiment to see if their fears were ill founded.

I contacted an organisation News Flash based in Edinburgh who on receipt of news items distributed that information, 'over the wire service' toALLof the media. What I relayed to them was the fact that the SCRO Officers had obtained the assistance of A Search For Justice and were 'fighting back' in an effort to clear their names. Only one newspaper carried the story the next day and that was 'The Scotsman'.

I confirmed with News Flash that all of the media had access to the story so why was it not taken up.

I then checked the home page of the solicitors representing the McKies and this is what I found.

One of their niche areas in the media and clients includes,ITN- Mirror Group Newspapers- Scottish Media Group-Border Television-Channel 4- Reuters- GMTV and Sky News.

As I reported to Crown Office this smacks of censorship.

There are many unanswered questions in this case and here are a few:

1. Why was McKie barred from the murder house?
2. Why were her fingerprints compared against the suspect print, and when?
3 Why did she claim at her perjury trial that she had entered the porch when the door duty cop claimed that she hadn’t?
4. How did she tell lies, on oath, at her Trial and get away with it, (In the presenceof Donald Finlay QC)?
5. Whywas McKie paid her claim minutes before the hearing was due to startand who authorised such payment.?
6 Why was Peter Swann not called as a witness at the perjury trial
7. Why was Herbert Kerrigan QC removed from the case.

I have applied to the Chief Constables Office Strathclyde Police for permission to interview the following five police officers

  • Detective Supt Stephen Heath,
  • Detective Inspector McAllister,
  • Det Sgt Wm Shields,
  • Const Mark Lees,
  • Const Reece

this is in an effort to ascertain if McKie did enter the house who let her in?

In a reply today I have asked to complete 'Precognition Forms' which indicates that I will be given permission but I have replied that I will await the outcome of the response from you to this report.

In my many contacts with the police, I am a member of the International Police Association and in that capacitymeet with them throughout Scotland and elsewhere, I have yet to meet an officerserving or retired whobelieves Shirley McKie’s account

I respectfully request that I be allowed to give oral evidence to the Committee.

Good luck with you deliberations.

Les Brown
31 March 2006


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BBC Wednesday, 21 June 2006

 

Report reveals print 'negligence'
 
Holyrood's Justice 1 Committee
The committee has decided to release the key MacLeod Report
An official report on the Shirley McKie case concluded that fingerprint staff involved were guilty of "professional negligence", BBC Scotland can reveal.

The MacLeod Report has been handed to a parliamentary committee, which will make it public later on Wednesday.

The report makes clear why ministers paid the former detective £750,000 compensation over print allegations.

Ms McKie, from Ayrshire, was cleared of perjury after a print found at a murder scene was wrongly identified as hers.

The Holyrood inquiry investigating the fingerprint service was handed the John MacLeod report by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson on Tuesday after a long wrangle.

'Reasonable care'

The independent fingerprint expert was hired by ministers when they faced legal action by Ms McKie.

The 29-page presentation explains why the 1997 print was not left at the murder scene by Ms McKie.

Shirley McKie
Ms McKie was awarded £750,000 in compensation

The most damning part of his investigation concluded that "reasonable care could not have been taken during the comparisons that wrongly made this identification".

Earlier in the report he said a mistake made without a reasonable degree of care being exercised would be professional negligence.

On Tuesday, the lord advocate again refused to release the Mackay Report - a criminal investigation into the service.

It had been made available to BBC Scotland in May and found that failures to address errors in the McKie case by the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) amounted to "criminal action".

The author, James Mackay, refused to answer questions on his report before the Justice 1 Committee inquiry on Tuesday.

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Hi All... thanks for all your posts in relation to the topic of 'Shirley McKie - The Whole Truth'.

 

With regards to Hammer6's post and the 'written submission from Les Brown', I found this quite shocking, and unbelievable.  I am sure I am not alone in my view.

 

With regards to Magpie's post and subsequent article relating to the 'Macleod Report reveals negligence', well, no surprises there, but seeing as the committee has now made the report public, below is the link to the report:

 

READ THE REPORTS

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

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Expert criticises print 'mindset'
Arie Zeelenberg
Arie Zeelenberg said staff put self interest before justice
A Dutch expert brought in to oversee the reform of the Scottish Fingerprint Service has criticised the mindset at all levels of the organisation.

Arie Zeelenberg said people in the service had put self interest before justice in the Shirley McKie scandal.

In a new report to the parliamentary inquiry he also dismisses those experts who maintain that no mistake was made.

Ms McKie, from Ayrshire, was cleared of perjury after a print found at a murder scene was wrongly identified as hers.

'Poor management'

Earlier this year the former Strathclyde Police detective was awarded £750,000 compensation over the mistaken identity over her print in 1997.

Ministers called the misidentification an "honest mistake".

Mr Zeelenberg, senior fingerprints advisor with the Dutch National Police Force, was hired by the Scottish Executive to oversee the reforms of the Scottish Criminal Records Office's fingerprint bureau brought about by that misidentification.

In new evidence to the inquiry being carried out by Holyrood's justice committee, he identifies poor management within the fingerprint service, which he said reacted defensively with an eye of self interest.

He said justice and truth were secondary considerations.

Mr Zeelenberg said the misidentification arose from the same sort of mindset or tunnel vision which caused miscarriages of justice in recent cases in America and the Netherlands.

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McKie probe reaches final stages
Shirley McKie
MSPs are scrutinising the misidentification of Ms McKie's prints
The parliamentary inquiry arising from the Shirley McKie fingerprint case is to reach a watershed later with its final evidence-taking session.

MSPs will question Scotland's most senior legal figure, the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, as well as Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson.

Ms McKie was cleared of leaving a print at a murder scene in 1997 and received £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

 

The high-profile witnesses will bring the total to have given evidence to 38.

Evidence has been heard before MSPs on Holyrood's Justice 1 Committee.

 

Former Strathclyde Police officer Ms McKie, from Troon, in Ayrshire, was cleared of lying on oath in 1999 after contesting the opinion of experts from the Scottish Fingerprint Service.

 

The lord advocate is likely to be questioned about his refusal to release full details of the criminal investigation into the service, the Mackay Report.

 

Ms Jamieson will be questioned over her refusal to set up a judicial inquiry, despite the four forensic scientists at the heart of the case continuing to deny their mistake.

 

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McKie experts 'offered job deal'
The experts who identified the prints as Ms McKie's
Unison criticised the offer made to officers who identified the prints
Fingerprint officials at the centre of the Shirley McKie case have been offered a deal to leave their jobs.

Public sector union Unison described the efforts to remove the staff from their posts as "harassment".

One of the experts told BBC Scotland that she believed she faced the sack if she did not accept the deal.

It comes as the parliamentary inquiry investigating the misidentification of Ms McKie's fingerprint heard from Scotland's Lord Advocate Colin Boyd.

The inquiry also took evidence from the justice minister, who said the £750,000 awarded to Ms McKie was less than the £1.2m the former detective had sought.

The former Strathclyde Police officer, from Troon in Ayrshire, was cleared of leaving a print at a murder scene in 1997.

She received an out-of-court settlement after being found not guilty of committing perjury, when she contested the opinion of experts from the Scottish Fingerprint Service.

Unison will be talking to our lawyers, to the staff affected and to the staff as a whole
Anne Russell
Unison's regional officer

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson told the committee the settlement was made on the basis that there had been a misidentification of Ms McKie's print, but that no malice was involved.

Unison said the officers involved in the case had now been offered early retirement, redundancy or redeployment within the police.

It said the approach was made as part of an action plan to modernise the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO).

Experts Hugh Macpherson, Charles Stewart, Fiona McBride and Anthony McKenna and two colleagues are at the centre of the move.

Ms McBride told Newsnight Scotland said she had received an offer to terminate her employment.

"If it is not accepted, then I believe the chances are to be sacked," she said.

Shirley McKie
MSPs are examining how Ms McKie's print was misidentified

Anne Russell, Unison's regional officer, said it was "outrageous" the offer should be made in the middle of a parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

She said: "Unless these threats are withdrawn, Unison will be talking to our lawyers, to the staff affected and to the staff as a whole to decide our next steps in backing our members' rights."

Lord Boyd told the inquiry that it was unlikely that any of the four officers who identified Ms McKie's print would be called as experts in court again.

He said any future case they were involved in would be overshadowed by their links to the McKie case.

However, Ms McBride insisted she would not be taking any deal.

She said: "I'm hoping that despite what he (Lord Boyd) said, the decision will be taken to put this off.

"I'm hoping that we will give evidence in court again."

'People's lives'

Ms Jamieson was the 38th witness to come before Holyrood's Justice 1 Committee.

She told MSPs the settlement recognised the damage caused to Ms McKie and allowed her to move on.

But she said she also had tried to recognise the "very difficult position" of the four SCRO officers who had identified the print as Ms McKie's.

"I was acutely conscious of the fact these were people's lives we were talking about, not only Shirley McKie and her family but the SCRO officers," she said.

She finished her evidence session by pledging to consider any recommendations the committee makes in its report.


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Reply with quote  #57 
Shirley McKie was wrongly accused of having...

Shirley McKie was wrongly accused of having visited a murder scene in 1997 after a print found near the body was mistakenly identified as hers. Picture: Ian Rutherford

 
 
 
 
16 February 2007
FINGERPRINT SERVICE 'ON PROBATION'.

MSPs have called for the Scottish Fingerprint Service to be put on probation for at least two years

They slammed a series of management defects after an 11-month Justice 1 committee inquiry into the Shirley McKie case.

Convener Pauline McNeill said she believed the service should be monitored to ensure essential changes were put into practice.

She added: "I would hope that a future parliamentary committee would go back to this in two years time."

The inquiry was set up after the Executive agreed to pay £750,000 compensation to McKie, a former Strathclyde detective.

A fingerprint found at a murder scene was claimed to be hers but she has consistently denied this.

She sued the Executive after being charged with perjury and acquitted.

The 227-page committee report did not answer the question of whether or not the disputed print - known as mark y 7 - was McKie's.

But the committee said they were staggered that there should such differences between experts who could not even agree if it was a left or right thumbprint.

The report said there was no evidence the officers working for the Scottish Criminal Record Office who identified the print as McKie's acted maliciously.

However, as the Executive's intention in settling the case had been to draw a line under the McKie controversy there should have been a "gagging order".

The absence of one was a "serious omission".

The report also warned that there were still management weaknesses - such as the lack of common standards among the four fingerprint offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. Last night, campaigners who backed McKie claimed the report could not answer vital questions and only a full judicial inquiry would do.

Former MSP Mike Russell said Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson's position was now "untenable".

He added: "She told the Scottish parliament after she was appointed and on every occasion that this was raised that the SCRO had been sorted, it had moved forward, it was operating efficiently and effectively.

"That was not true. It was not true when she said it and the report says it remains untrue."

He was backed by MSP Alex Neil who claimed: "She is supposed to be the minister for justice but has actually become the minister for injustice."

One of the four officers at the centre of the McKie row, Fiona McBride, said: "I am delighted. All the marks they claimed we had misidentified have proven to be correct."

Jamieson welcomed the report and said improvements to the fingerprint service were continuing.

She said: "Government does not have a monopoly on good ideas and I welcome the committee's recommendations."


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Shirley McKie
MSPs are examining how Ms McKie's print was misidentified.
 

QC's warn Scots justice in crisis...

SCOTLAND'S most senior lawyers have issued a blistering warning that confidence in the country's criminal justice system is in danger of draining away following the Shirley McKie fingerprint scandal.

The 600-year-old Faculty of Advocates, which represents Scotland's QCs, said there was now a crisis of confidence in forensic experts, with the impression that their work was "unprofessional", "unreasonable" and "unacceptable".

 

The Faculty is demanding ministers agree to a full public inquiry into the matter, to root out bad practice and restore confidence in the courts.

The comments, the first the full Faculty has made since the McKie affair began, will provoke fresh concern over dozens of convictions in Scotland where fingerprint evidence has been used to send people to jail.

Last week, a report by a Scottish Parliament committee concluded there remained "significant weaknesses" in the way fingerprints were assessed. Now, the QCs say they fear many convictions based on fingerprint evidence may be unsafe and are warning the affair will trigger a deluge of appeals.

The latest turn of events comes a full 10 years after McKie, a former Strathclyde police officer, was wrongly accused of having visited a murder scene in 1997 after a print found near the body was mistakenly identified as hers.

She was subsequently charged for committing perjury after denying in court that the print was hers. Last year, after being acquitted, she was awarded £750,000 in damages by ministers who conceded there had been an "honest mistake". The affair snowballed after a secret report by police chiefs concluded there had been a "criminal cover-up" to frame McKie in the case.

MSPs said last week it was not appropriate for them to pass judgment on any criminality involved. However, the report has opened fresh concern about the general levels of competence within the service.

The Faculty of Advocates' comments were made to the Justice 1 Committee but were only published for the first time last week.

On the McKie case, vice-dean Valerie Stacey QC declares: "The issue is that some evidence and circumstances suggest that this is not a dispute between experts on whether or not a print matches, but rather suggests that the work of the SCRO [Scottish Criminal Records Office] is not only unprofessional but unreasonable or unacceptable."

She adds: "In this context, the Faculty is very concerned at the risk of a lack of confidence in expert evidence of fingerprint identification, forensic evidence generally and indeed the criminal justice system as a whole. It is our view that in order to restore confidence and move on from these events a public inquiry is necessary."

The Faculty is scathing of evidence from SCRO officers during the parliamentary inquiry, when it was admitted that experts would not tell outsiders when there had been a dispute among them about a print. Instead, defence counsels have been told to accept prints as 100% bona fide.

Stacey concludes: "Without a full inquiry into these events, then defence challenges are now likely to be made or attempted [into fingerprint evidence] as a matter of course."

Maggie Scott, former chair of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association added: "They will have great difficulty in getting convictions on fingerprint evidence now because of the awareness in the public that it isn't a science."

Campaigners said the claims by the Faculty showed the case had far greater implications over and above the details of the McKie case. Her father, Iain McKie, said: "In our case, there were two wrong fingerprints. We are asked to believe that there were no other mistakes in any other case apart from that.

"I think we should be reviewing every fingerprint case over the last 20 to 30 years."

Former SNP MSP Mike Russell, who has campaigned on behalf of the McKie family, added: "It strains credulity to suggest that this is a single case. None of the issues from the Shirley McKie case have been cleared up. The truth is that politicians, prosecutors and police are scared and afraid of decisions being questioned."

But ministers have defended their stance, saying checks were made on the SCRO to find whether there was a systematic failure. The inquiries concluded that all other identifications the SCRO had processed in the year before the McKie case were correct. They also point out that there have been only two cases in the past 10 years where a case has had to be dropped by the Crown because of unsafe fingerprint evidence.

The fresh row comes as it emerged the four fingerprint experts at the centre of the affair may be due for a lucrative severance payment next month. Hugh Macpherson, Fiona McBride, Anthony McKenna and Charles Stewart originally identified McKie in 1997, and defended their case in front of MSPs last year.

Union representatives say negotiations are under way for a severance deal between them and the newly-formed Scottish Police Services Authority, which takes over the fingerprint service on April 1.

A Unison spokeswoman said: "It is impossible for anybody to understand the stress they have been under."

She added: "We will support them if they don't leave. If they do leave, it will be through their own choice."

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said she would give "careful consideration" to the committee's findings.

"In doing so, I want to re-state my clear commitment to ensuring that the Scottish Fingerprint Service provides a world-class service," she added.

Related topic:

 

Comments:

1. Mev Brown, Edinburgh / 12:29am 18 Feb 2007

I think the problem is more to do with why did Cathy Jamieson and her New Labour colleagues gone to such lengths to avoid a public enquiry?

There has to be a reason.

And will the call for a public enquiry from the Faculty of Advocates make any difference?

I suspect the more immediate problem, for New Labour, will be a possible change in administration and that could well bring about just such a public enquiry, regardless of the best efforts of New Labour to prevent it at all costs.

Watch this space: http://www.nhsfirst.org.uk

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2. http://www.scottwebb.co.uk / 12:38am 18 Feb 2007

Comment@1 Mev, hi mate.....the real objective behind this.......is to get the public at large to embrace RFID enslavement and 24/7 tracking of your movements....to be seen as the only solution........DO NOT FALL FOR IT

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3. Wisnaeme, Sent to Coventry. / 12:58am 18 Feb 2007

Confidence in whit? How can anyone have confidence or respect for it.

Remember Dunblane, Lockerbie and so called inquiries like the building costs and proceedures involved in the Scottish Parliament building fiasco?

Too many folk with self interests involved= too many questions remaining unanswered.

Hasn't it always been thus. They talk the talk of transparency and openness but they most certainly don't walk the walk.

Report as unsuitable
4. Peter Cherbi, Edinburgh / 1:23am 18 Feb 2007

A situation entirely of their own making.

They need look no further than their restriction of access to courts, their greed of charging high fees for poor work, their policy on legal aid (striking for more taxpayers money, when they had actually been getting more all along), discrimination against the client & hounding, even, persecution of those who catch them out on charges of wrongdoing or worse .... and lets not forget keeping legislation off the books which they simply don't want.

... and while the legal profession rant on about the New Labour dictatorship (almost comical), they have almist enslaved Scots Law to their own dictatorship, resisting any change at the threat of Court action, case boycotts & attempts to undermine just about anyone who proposes such change.

If thats Scots Law - no one no one has confidence in it.

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5. Richard IV, Brisbane,Australia. / 2:02am 18 Feb 2007

Agree with #3, As soon as the Faculty OF Advocates talk about a "Public Enquiry", you can be sure of two things: 1 The public wont be involved. An 2 Lines of inquiry that may expose the Legal profession for what it is,won't see the light of day! Anyone "Brave" enough to attempt this gets ostracised an accused of being a "Whistleblower"!

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6. Dave M / 3:50am 18 Feb 2007

"In doing so, I want to re-state my clear commitment to ensuring that the Scottish Fingerprint Service provides a world-class service," she added.

Commitment.

What does that mean?

I'm committed to playing for Scotland at the next World Cup and no one is going to stop me.

I've even bought some new boots and been on a jog.

I'll be 47 next World Cup.

Does anyone believe a word that comes out of Cathy Jamieson's mouth?

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7. Bob10 / 4:20am 18 Feb 2007

(2) Scottwebb.

As I said to you on another thread, you need to up the Valium. Your takeover delusions are becoming comical. Sorry!

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8. Guga, Rockall / 4:24am 18 Feb 2007

"a secret report by police chiefs concluded there had been a 'criminal cover-up' to frame McKie in the case."

What has happened about this criminal cover-up? Has there been any follow up, or anyone charged or prosecuted? If not, why not?

Now the "experts at the centre of the affair may be due for a lucrative severance payment next month".

Why are they being given a lucrative severance payment? What is going on?

It is well past time that this whole affair was brought out into the open, and the full details made available to the public. Cathy Jamieson has fallen down on the job, again. She is a walking disaster are looking for a place to happen.

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9. Bob10 / 4:35am 18 Feb 2007

Just goes to prove that the Freedom Of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 was not as sweeping as believed.

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10. Paul Voltaire, http://www.paulvoltaire.spaces.live.com / 5:17am 18 Feb 2007

Oh Dear!
Another old story recycled.

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11. AndyBhoy, Vancouver Canada / 7:05am 18 Feb 2007

The affair snowballed after a secret report by police chiefs concluded there had been a "criminal cover-up" to frame McKie in the case.

Every person involved in this is paid from the public purse. Nothing should be secret.

I strongly feel the public has been let down by the press- print & TV - on this story by a total failure to call elected representatives to account on this. If the press continue to chicken out on calling out the right of citizens to know what is being done in their name and done with their money on this issue (and a host of others) because of the comfortable symbiotic clique that exists in Scotland at present amongst the coos-arsred parliament that currently sits in Edinburgh, the legal establishment, and the journalists that supposedly keep a beady eye on the other two - then who can the be trusted to guard our rights? I would say none of the above. God help Scotland if this was still the case should the populace ever choose independence.

I voted Yes Yes for a Scottish parliament with tax raising powers. I was promised a new vision of politics and a new way of politicians doing things. What did I get ? Well the first Yes Yes I heard from our MSPs was when they voted to give themselves 17 weeks holidays and a pay rise. I couldn't quite see how "performance related pay" that was being rammed down everyone else's throat applied to this. Then I realised didn't George Orwell warn us about this at the end of "Animal Farm"? " Don't matter what you peasants do or think - we'll keep on giving you the same old p*sh in a different shaped bottle !"

ps I'm not suggesting Canadian politicians, press , and legal establishment are any better - it's just that some of the press at least don't seem quite so bad .
pps Sorry for a very long sentence.

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12. bill mccall, sydney / 7:45am 18 Feb 2007

why blame the poor, probably underfunded and resource poverished, forensic services.

There is an overall failure of public service performance in almost every branch of service to the public. Not only in UK.

This is probably due to poor education standards, pathetic recruitment policies, loss of discipline in almost every walk of life; but above all the atrocious quality of general responsibility for anything that can be asociated with progressive socialisation of our lives! They just have no idea, they are poorly prepared for reality and thoroughly believe that anyone who votes Labour deserves a chance at anything.

Looking for the cause of troubles in the UK and Scotland in particular? Simply look at the ideology that Labour offers and the indolence of a public that keeps giving them the levers to pull

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13. Harriet / 8:07am 18 Feb 2007

Dear AndyBhoy you said "I was promised a new vision of politics and a new way of politicians doing things. What did I get ? Well the first Yes Yes I heard from our MSPs was when they voted to give themselves 17 weeks holidays and a pay rise."

NO - MSPs pay is set by an external body.

NO - MSPs are lucky to get 2 weeks holiday as recess is when mosy work hardest at catching up with constituents whom they ain't been able to see during the (much longer than Westminster) Parliamentary session.

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14. Herb Aishus, Border / 8:58am 18 Feb 2007

#12 "why blame the poor, probably underfunded and resource poverished, forensic services" - thought it was quite obvious - someone in that service messed up but had neither the courage nor decency to admit to it - funding has nothing to do with it and does not provide honesty, that's up to the individuals concerned who, it seems, cannot spell "integrity", never mind know what it means.

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15. archibald fan, bliar & bush must go / 9:03am 18 Feb 2007

18. Mine's an 80 bob

Good Morning James, I mean Mine’s an 80 Bob. I can see from other posts every one has caught on and it must be very embarrassing to be caught in so many lies in less than 2 weeks.

As you can see from the other sites every one is acknowledging you are a fake and that you sign on as other names to antagonize others.

Be care deleting these posts as they are being copied and will just be re posted with time stamps.

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16. Alasdair McWhirter, taking time off from cleaning my bicycle / 9:03am 18 Feb 2007

#13 Harriet - you seem very defensive, are you standing for election next time round, or maybe you are the partner of an MSP? If they are working hardest during the recesses, then it shows how little they must do during session. If they aren't spending so much time with constituents during session, how come the travel expenses are through the roof - day trips to the seaside?

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McKie inquiry proposals accepted...
 
Shirley McKie
Ms McKie secured an out-of-court settlement from the executive
The recommendations of an MSPs' inquiry into the fingerprint service have been accepted by the Scottish Executive.

The Justice 1 Committee highlighted a series of failures in the management of the Scottish Fingerprint Service.

The inquiry came after former detective Shirley McKie was cleared of perjury over a fingerprint at a murder scene.

But the justice minister said she was not persuaded that the executive should have insisted on a gagging clause when it reached a settlement with Ms McKie.

The former Strathclyde Police officer had been accused of leaving a fingerprint at the Kilmarnock home of murder victim Marion Ross 10 years ago.

The committee's assessment of the issues appears to have a lot in common with the assessments made by the organisation
Cathy Jamieson
Justice minister

She challenged the findings of fingerprint experts working for the Scottish Criminal Record Office and was later cleared of perjury.

Last year she received a £750,000 out-of-court settlement from the executive and a parliamentary inquiry was launched to see what lessons could be learnt.

The SNP demanded Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson's resignation when the report was published last month after the longest ever inquiry by a Holyrood committee.

In her response to the committee's report, Ms Jamieson said: "Many of the issues were familiar to us, and indeed the committee's assessment of them appears to have a lot in common with the assessments made by the organisation."

The report said ministers should have included an agreement to prevent the McKie family discussing the case publicly because one of the executive's goals in settling out-of-court was to draw a line under the case.

Independently verify

However, Ms Jamieson said she was "not persuaded" by that suggestion.

The executive response accepted 10 specific recommendations and said a call for the Crown Office to review procedures for storing trial evidence, including fingerprints, was a matter for the lord advocate.

Among the recommendations accepted is a call for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out an internal review of inspections of the SCRO after 2000, to consider lessons for the future.

Another recommendation is for the Scottish Fingerprint Service to set up a standing arrangement for an independent fingerprint bureau outside Scotland to verify disputed SFS identification.

The executive said discussions were now being held with the National Fingerprint Board on formal arrangements for referring disputed identifications to other parts of the UK for "clarification".


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Fingerprint
Ian Todd was head of the fingerprint service for a year.

The man in charge of the Scottish Fingerprint Service has resigned days before it is taken over by the new Scottish Police Services Authority.

It is understood Ian Todd will continue to support the six fingerprint officers at the heart of the Shirley McKie case.

He was head of the Scottish Criminal Records Office - which encompasses the fingerprint service - for a year.

He took over after the McKie case, in which a fingerprint found at a murder scene was wrongly identified.

Eventually ministers awarded the former detective £750,000 in compensation.

However, the six forensic scientists involved in the print identification have always insisted no mistake was made and their supporters claim Mr Todd has consistently given them full backing.

Mr Todd is understood to be out of the country at the moment.

I think that this is yet another example of someone who has had to leave the fingerprint service purely because they have had the courage, the moral courage, to stand up and defend the officers
Ken Macintosh
Labour MSP

Sources suggest he has resigned to avoid having to work under David Mulhern, a former deputy chief constable brought in by the Scottish Executive to restructure the service.

In a statement, Mr Mulhern said Mr Todd's departure would have no consequences for the organisation.

It is believed the six officers are under growing pressure to accept redundancy.

'Public servants' Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, who has supported some of the fingerprint staff, said he was sorry to hear of Mr Todd's resignation.

 

He told BBC Scotland: "I think that this is yet another example of someone who has had to leave the fingerprint service purely because they have had the courage, the moral courage, to stand up and defend the officers, these public servants who believed this was Shirley McKie's fingerprint.

 

"They are public servants carrying out their duty, they have the right to hold that opinion and think the contrast between this man who has now lost his job, the threat that hangs over the six others and the £750,000 paid to Shirley McKie is disgraceful."   

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