The broad issues, within the Inquiry's terms of reference, that will be considered are:
1. Fingerprints: the identification and verification of the marks labelled Y7, QI2, QD2 and XF.
2. The decision to prosecute Shirley McKie.
3. The response of the Scottish Criminal Record Office and its successor bodies to the acquittal of Shirley McKie.
4. Fingerprint procedures in the Scottish Criminal Record Office and its successor bodies.
5. Training and qualification of fingerprint examiners in Scotland, and presentation of fingerprint evidence in Scottish court proceedings.
6. Research regarding the current status of fingerprinting as a forensic science, and possible causes of error.
The issues will be kept under review as the Inquiry proceeds.
35. The critical questions remain for the inquiry:
1. Was each of Y7 and QI2 correctly identified?
2. If not, how did any misidentification occur?
3. In particular, if there was any misidentification, how could four fingerprint examiners acting independently have made such an error?
Mr Kenneth Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab): ….Last week, we heard allegations made against you. The allegations that have constantly surfaced over the years in this campaign are that you are either incompetent or corrupt or dishonest. You have rebutted some allegations today, but on the question of competence, has there been any court ruling that confirms that there was a misidentification, as people keep calling it? Has there been any court ruling on the fingerprint itself?
Charles Stewart: Not that we are aware of.
SCRO Union Spokesperson
No criminal charges have been brought against them, and I would have thought that if there was evidence to suggest that they had fabricated their evidence which they took to court, then it would be certain that criminal charges would have to be brought against them. I would suggest to you that criminal charges have not been brought against them, quite simply because they did not fabricate the evidence.
Alister Geddes: When an examiner is first assigned a case, they have to bear in mind the fact that at some future point, they will have to stand up in a court of law, deliver evidence and justify their conclusions. As a result, whenever I have scene-of-crime marks—whether I am looking for eliminations or suspects—the people I am looking for are just potential donors of a scene-of-crime mark. Nothing influences my comparison.
Alister Geddes: The mark is complex. You guys have had to listen to experts giving testimony after testimony. John MacLeod does not agree with our conclusion, but his analysis of the mark differs completely from that of Mr Wertheim; Mr Zeelenberg's analysis is different again. I understand your problems. Earlier, Mr Pringle complained that some of Mr MacLeod's pictures were just black. I am sorry, but it would not make any difference to you if they were not. That is not arrogance.
If you remember, James Mackay's investigation was a result of an allegation against us of criminal corruption. Shirley McKie placed in the averments a claim of malicious conspiracy. That has now been watered down by Mr MacLeod to professional negligence. How long do we have to wait until we are told that we are right? .....
Mr McFee: What about QI2?
Alister Geddes: We are right on that also—that will be proven.
Alan Dunbar: I ask the committee to consider the effects on the staff at the SCRO, particularly the eight officers who have appeared before you. I am talking not only about the impact on their working lives but about the effect that all of this has had on their partners, families and private lives.
Miss McKie was found not guilty of perjury, ergo we all had to be guilty of something. Thanks to the McKie camp and certain sectors of the press and media, we—all of a sudden—became liars, conspirators and criminals. A small number of MSPs who would sell their souls for a soundbite then threw logs on the fire. To round it all off—and this is the worst part—the SCRO, ACPOS, the Crown and the Executive have behaved like rabbits caught in the headlights and have not handled the situation at all well. What is disappointing about that is that those groups make up the system in which we worked and in which we believed. The only thing that the SCRO officers are guilty of is telling the truth.
Because of what I am uncovering in their evidence I feel duty bound to make the Justice 1 Committee aware of these postings however I sincerely hope Justice 1 has already had all the Expert witness testimony scrutinised and when they report they will be fully aware of all the discrepancies in the evidence put to them.
EVIDENCE OF PETER SWANN“What we have here is simply a small part, just taking one rolled impression. Nowhere in the correspondence and the charts that I have seen from anybody else have I seen a rolled impression. They are all plain impressions and are shown down at the bottom of this chart. When they show fingerprints being taken on television, they just plonk the thumbs and fingers down and go like that—and that is all they get. However, for classification purposes, as we used to do by the old manual method—it is all computerised now—you have to make a ridge count for all the ridge structure between the centre core, the deltas and what have you, and you need a fully rolled impression for that.”
ROLLED ROLLED ROLLED. I get It, I think he is saying here you need a ROLLED impression. Swann is telling us that PLAIN impressions are NO GOOD and you need a ROLLED impression to make this identification. So Swann chastises every one who uses a PLAIN impression.“The same situation arises on what I have called "Chart G: the Aberdeen findings"—if I am allowed to refer to the Aberdeen findings. Three gentlemen in the Aberdeen fingerprint bureau used the thumb impressions on chart G. Again, none is a rolled impression, so they arrive at the wrong conclusion. Their findings are:
"There are a significant number of ridge characteristics which do not appear in coincident sequence."
That is quite correct; they do not—they are looking at the wrong fingerprint, so they will not see them. Therefore, they will not arrive at the right conclusion; they cannot, because the characteristics are not there.”
This gets very interesting indeed. Because apparently the Aberdeen three use a PLAIN impression! And according to Swann in the PLAIN impression used “the characteristics are not there”. Swann agrees that the Experts in Aberdeen were correct to state there were “a significant number of ridge characteristics which do not appear in coincident sequence”. In fact he states “That is quite correct, they do not”. And why? Because they are not using a ROLLED impression! Okay time to see the wheels starting to come off. Cue evidence by Robert Mackenzie, Deputy Head of the Glasgow Bureau, and see if you can spot a tiny problem for Swann.“When, eventually, I revisited the case, and from my memory, I noted that the 18 February form was slightly better than the 17 February form. Four options were available to me: two rolled impressions and two plain impressions. I have mentioned in another forum that the second form was the original form. In fact, it came back from the fiscal's office labelled "original form" but it was the second form. The plain impression of the left thumb on the second form, which was taken on 18 February, was the best material that I had available to me, and the photographed impression was also the best that I had seen.”“Robert Mackenzie: What we had was limited, in that the two rolled impressions that I saw were smudged, particularly to the right-hand side, but the plain impression was sufficient for me. The thought never occurred to me to ask for prints to be retaken.”
What’s that Robert? The PLAIN impression was the best material available to you? And sufficient? Is that a similar PLAIN impression hundreds have used from the internet? You know when Swann agreed there would be points in disagreement because they didn’t use a ROLLED impression? Maybe I need to fast forward to introduce some evidence from John Berry at this point, because I’m sure he can help out with the PLAIN ROLLED debate.“I was fascinated to receive, over the internet, the marks of the scene imprint and Shirley McKie's left thumb, which were circulated by the Americans. I was appalled by what I saw. For instance, the fingerprint from the door had a scrape mark from the bottom left to the middle right. I know that the SCRO mark did not have that and I am also aware that Peter Swann has a pretty good photograph of this difficult mark that does not have that scrape mark. I wanted to know, first of all, where that scrape mark came from, given that it was not there when the mark was photographed by the SCRO. Also, the fingerprint of Shirley McKie was a plain impression. I have no knowledge of any fingerprint expert ever examining a scene mark using a plain impression. The system started in 1901 and, since then, rolled impressions showing 100 per cent of the detail have been used.”“John Berry: Since 1901, when fingerprinting was introduced at Scotland Yard, rolled impressions have been used. You would be a fool to use a plain impression because 50 per cent of the area of the finger might be lost.”
Sorry John you are not helping SCRO here! I’m sure Mackenzie and Dunbar won’t like you calling them fools! “I have no knowledge of any fingerprint expert ever examining a scene mark using a plain impression.” So you are going along with ROLLED I guess. I hope you are following this readers! And wait, I almost missed that part hidden away in there. He was “appalled by the Internet images he saw! Are we hearing right?
Thankfully Alan Dunbar is at hand to give us the truth about the ROLLED PLAIN debate given he is the Quality Assurance Officer. Okay Dunbar you going for the ROLLED option?“Stewart Stevenson: You did not need rolled prints to do your job.
Alan Dunbar: Not on that occasion. We were happy to eliminate the mark.”
What? You guys are having a laugh!! So where is this leaving Swann? Because according to him people who use PLAIN impressions are using the wrong material. At least Malcolm Graham is at hand to offer his wisdom on this matter“I have reasons for saying that. Wertheim tells us that he took in excess of 80 left thumb impressions from McKie. I do not believe that for one minute—no fingerprint officer would ever do that—but for argument's sake, we will say that he did. All were plain impressions and he did not seem to appreciate the need for rolled impressions.”
So Graham firmly believes you need ROLLED too, which is against Mackenzie and Dunbar! So at this moment it is 3-2 in favour of ROLLED. But to be fair to Mackenzie and Dunbar given they have used PLAIN we’ll add the hundreds of Experts who also used PLAIN from the Internet to join them so they are not alone. Sounds like an overwhelming victory for PLAIN!
The Chairman, Sir Anthony Campbell, intends to publish his Report at 2 p.m. on Wednesday 14 December 2011 in The White Room, Radisson Blu Hotel, 301 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8DL.
Core participants will have an opportunity to see the Report in advance at the venue on 14 December.
At 2 p.m. the Chairman will outline the background to the Inquiry and announce his key findings and key recommendations. This will be open to the public and the press.
The Chairman's statement and the Inquiry Report will become available on the Inquiry's website at that time.
The Report is delivered to Scottish Ministers prior to publication and following the Chairman's announcement they lay it before the Scottish Parliament.
Scottish Parliament Written Answer 14 March 2008 (S3W-10920)
Question by Alex Neil MSP: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will make a statement about establishing a public judicial inquiry into the Shirley McKie case.
Answer by Kenny MacAskill MSP, Justice Secretary:
The Shirley McKie case has cast a cloud over the individuals involved and has been a source of serious concern for the criminal justice system for the past decade. Previous reviews have helped to shed some light on matters, but they have not fully explained the events and, therefore, have not entirely dispersed that cloud. Public concern remains.
The Scottish Government has given a commitment, therefore, that it will establish an independent, public, judicial inquiry into the case. The inquiry will be constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005 and subject to the Inquiries (Scotland) Rules 2007. In accordance with section 6 of the 2005 act, I am announcing today that the chairman will be Lord Justice Sir Anthony Campbell, one of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal judges. At this point, I have no plans to appoint any other person to the inquiry panel.
Having consulted with Lord Justice Campbell, as required by section 5 of the 2005 act, I have determined that the inquiry’s terms of reference will be:
To inquire into the steps that were taken to identify and verify the fingerprints associated with, and leading up to, the case of HM Advocate v. McKie in 1999,
To determine, in relation to the fingerprint designated Y7, the consequences of the steps taken, or not taken, and to report findings of fact and
Make recommendations as to what measures might now be introduced, beyond those that have already been introduced since 1999, to ensure that any shortcomings are avoided in the future.
The Scottish legal system has served Scotland well for centuries. Occasionally things go wrong. When they do, it is to the credit of the system and the country that we seek to resolve them and set matters right. The purpose of this inquiry is not to try or retry any individual for the events of the past, nor to challenge the decisions of the prosecution, the defence or the courts in relation to any of those events. Indeed, the law is quite explicit that an inquiry cannot rule on, and has no power to determine, any person’s civil or criminal liability.
The purpose is to open up and understand those events and to learn from them, in order to ensure that, for the future, Scotland has an approach to the identification, verification and presentation of fingerprints that everyone can trust. For this purpose, the inquiry will have at its disposal the full powers bestowed by the 2005 act, including powers relating to access to documents and witnesses.For its part, the Scottish Government will volunteer any material that it holds and which might be useful to the inquiry. The Lord Advocate has also made clear that she will, exceptionally, make available to the inquiry any material that the Crown Office holds and which might be useful to the inquiry, including the Mackay report, Crown precognitions and reports by Crown Office officials.
Additionally, if requested by the inquiry, Ministers and officials from both the Scottish Government and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will appear in person to provide an account of their knowledge of events. Nothing will be hidden from the inquiry. For the purposes of the 2005 act, the inquiry’s "setting-up date" is today. Lord Justice Campbell will remain focused on his existing judicial duties in Northern Ireland until the end of August and he will not be taking evidence or representations until then. It is anticipated, however, that the planning and preparatory work that is necessary for the inquiry will begin now under his guidance. Future public announcements about the conduct of the inquiry will be made by the inquiry team in due course.
The Shirley McKie case has … been a source of serious concern for the criminal justice system for the past decade…. Public concern remains.
Occasionally things go wrong. When they do, it is to the credit of the system and the country that we seek to resolve them and set matters right.
The purpose is to open up and understand those events and to learn from them, in order to ensure that, for the future, Scotland has an approach to the identification, verification and presentation of fingerprints that everyone can trust.
Mr Macintosh: Convener, this is crucial…….If we are ever to establish confidence in officers and to give them the respect to which they are entitled, it is only fair that people who have made misidentifications own up to them.
Daktari wrote:Trixie,there are only three possibilities
a) a conspiracy involving people who did not know one and other
b) two mistakes in the same case by people who track record showed 100% accuracy or,
c) a correct identification was made!
No amount of fantasy theorising will change that.
As I said earlier, look at who stood to lose and what they had to lose.
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