McKie Inquiry costs $6m

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Sam the man
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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Sam the man » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:08 pm

Hi Pat

It is very interesting information about the expected date of publication and I note as well the update from the Inquiry website that Wullie has posted.

I think the Inquiry will be aware that people have been surprised that it should have taken so long to issue the final report and so I don’t think they would have given the date of mid December unless they were very confident they could keep to it. I think too that while the report may not state explicitly what has caused the delay we may well be able to infer the reasons ourselves from some of the content of the report.

Certainly at a cost of over £4m and having taken nearly three years to complete it would be hoped that the Inquiry has pretty much got to the root cause of all the issues. Whatever are the findings of the Inquiry it would appear that there are facts which have had to be dragged out kicking and screaming. As has been remarked before it will only have been by a series of coincidences that we even have the facts which the Inquiry finally reveals. But for a whole series of contingencies many of the things which emerge would never have been discovered.

The most telling thing to my mind will be how those who are criticised in the report respond to its criticism. Hopefully there will be an acknowledgement of past errors where these has occurred so that as Iain McKie writes we can take things forward and move on. It would be very disappointing if those criticised tried to either dispute the facts or play down the Inquiry’s findings. This case has involved so much disinformation and misinformation in the past and it is to be hoped this does not continue in the future.

I hope too the Inquiry does not forget Marion Ross and acknowledges that there is an injustice there that still needs to be addressed.

I suspect you won’t need much other reading material this Christmas Pat.

Kind regards,


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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Pat » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:57 am

Hello Sam

During the inquiry, the core participants were advised that if wrongdoing were determined to have occurred, warnings would be issued to persons to be charged with crimes so they could go about preparing their defenses. I seem to recall during the first few months of 2010 that one reason I heard for the delays was that warnings needed to be given. The implication is that some of the core participants would be criminally charged. Since I have received no warning and I presume neither has Arie, one could infer that our evidence was accepted as true and some of the contradictory evidence was found to be lacking. Who might have received warnings and for what violations of law, I know not. I hope the Report and subsequent actions provide a measure of "justice" for any who knowingly, intentionally, and maliciously perpetrated acts against innocent parties in the events following Marion Ross's murder.

And as you, I hope Marion Ross isn't completely forgotten.

Warm regards,
The views presented in this post are those of the author only. They do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or any of its components.

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Taggart » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:36 pm

I think it may be prudent, as the publication of the Fingerprint Inquiry Report is now imminent to look back at its original Terms of Reference and see if it might give us any insight as to why the delay.
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.
Add to this the following three questions which the Inquiry are already on public record as stating are critical.
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?
If I may be so bold as to offer some observations based on the above.

Fingerprints: the identification and verification of the marks labelled Y7, QI2, QD2 and XF.

Actually could be read along with the question

Was each of Y7 and QI2 correctly identified?

The Inquiry would have been fully aware by the end of the evidence sessions in 2009 as to the correctness or otherwise of the individual fingerprints.

The decision to prosecute Shirley McKie.

This would entail thorough investigations by the Inquiry.

The response of the Scottish Criminal Record Office and its successor bodies to the acquittal of Shirley McKie.

Again this would entail some in-depth investigations by the Inquiry. As it takes into account the ‘successor bodies’ it must look at the actions of the SPSA. Given they changed their official position from that of misidentification to that of unsafe it is vital the Inquiry are in a position to effectively respond to that change of position.

Fingerprint procedures in the Scottish Criminal Record Office and its successor bodies.

Again a time consuming job.

Training and qualification of fingerprint examiners in Scotland, and presentation of fingerprint evidence in Scottish court proceedings.

Again another huge task. Made even harder by the total shambolic presentation of expert evidence to the Inquiry by the Scottish Experts. When compared against the evidence presented by the International experts it was shown for what it truly was.
Although we must expect the SPSA has been pro-active and has put in place intensive re-training of experts within the last two years.

Research regarding the current status of fingerprinting as a forensic science, and possible causes of error.

Again another huge undertaking.

The Inquiry Report, I believe will change the science of Fingerprints forever. Not something to be taken lightly or indeed without exhaustive investigations and deliberations.

However the critical questions which the Inquiry has to address are:

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?

Given it is clear that misidentifications did occur then the investigations into how and why are vital. To me these are the two answers I am particularly looking forward to seeing.

From my own understanding I believe there are only two possible answers to the last question. Either gross incompetence or criminality.
We don’t have long now to find out the answer.

Either way the significance for the current organisation, the SPSA, cannot be underestimated. Remember current serving members of the organisation will either be deemed to be incompetent at best or criminals at worst.

What intrigues me is how the SCRO Experts will respond to the Inquiries findings. They certain;ly cannot accuse them of any bias given the Inquiry heard from all apart from one of those who supported the so called identification. One by one they systematically destroyed themselves. They started believing they had support from Swann and Leadbetter when in reality these two not only destroyed each other but blew SCRO out of the water.

I often wonder if Leadbetter ever did find those missing ridges!

So they were given every possible chance to demonstrate their findings. They also had every chance to discredit both Pat and Arie. That was a total failure on both counts.
So what options do they have?

I recall an interesting dialogue between an incredibly smug Ken Macintosh and Charles Stewart at the Justice 1 Committee which although did not mean a lot at the time becomes fascinating now:
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.
At that point there never had been any Court Ruling. But soon there definitely will be. As one who has seen Ken Macintosh continue to attack and discredit experts who disagree with the SCRO Experts and has demanded apologies in the past I for one am looking forward to seeing Mr Macintosh accept the Inquiry Findings and since he is a man who believes in apologies, for him to publicly apologize for his actions.

He is currently front runner to become leader of the Scottish Labour Party the result of which will be announced on 17 December. Given the Inquiry Reports back mid-December it should give Ken the perfect opportunity to possibly start his leadership of by apologising for the error of his ways!

I cannot see how he could possibly continue to support the experts after this Inquiry. Interesting times ahead!

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by redlion62 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:49 pm

Hi Taggart,

I can be a bit more specific than `mid December` and tell everyone that Wednesday 14th seems to be the day the report becomes public.

Remember, remember, 14th December !!

Sam the man
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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Sam the man » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:52 am

I have been checking some details and would be grateful to be corrected if I have any of this wrong.

Firstly in terms of warning letters – my understanding is that these will have been issued to anyone who is going to be criticised by the report. A criticism in no way necessarily implies any form of criminality. If someone acted in good faith and honesty but made a serious error or if an institution’s procedures or systems were not adequate then either an individual or an institution could be criticised but this would not suggest any form of criminality.

The Inquires Act specifically states that the purpose of an Inquiry is not to determine either civil or criminal liability. Please see both parts of Section 2 of the Inquires Act here:

“No determination of liability

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)An inquiry panel is not to rule on, and has no power to determine, any person's civil or criminal liability.

(2)But an inquiry panel is not to be inhibited in the discharge of its functions by any likelihood of liability being inferred from facts that it determines or recommendations that it makes.”

If the outcome of the Inquiry is that the cause of the problems was essentially that of competence then I suspect it will be a relatively straightforward matter to address. We could for example end with the recognition that not all experts are of equal ability and that there are different levels of expertise required depending on the complexity of the mark. Along of course with perhaps other amendments to minimise the chances of bias inadvertently coming in when trying to arrive at independent conclusions.

If however the Inquiry suggests that the cause of the problems was anything other than a matter of competence then this will be an entirely different matter and I think there could be very significant implications.

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Taggart » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:22 am

In reality the Inquiry cannot find the Experts were ‘incompetent’. If we look at the multiple times they had to re-examine not only their findings, but those of others this rules out incompetence given their errors would have been found and acknowledged very quickly.

From memory I recall at least 10 separate occasions this could have happened. One of which was the opportunity to closely examine Arie Zeeelenberg’s wonderful presentation to the Justice 1 Committee.

Add to this the Experts were very kind to tell us all their work was independently peer reviewed and found to be 100% accurate.

The same must also apply to Peter Swann who similarly had multiple opportunities to review his original flawed findings.

I suspect a major reason has to be the culture and arrogance within the SCRO. I remember one of the SCRO Experts stating at the Inquiry they had been told they were the best bureau in the world!

I also believe the Inquiry has led the ‘identification’ side into a position where incompetence is taken out and will allow them to find they are indeed culpable. By asking all the Experts to prepare new charts for the Inquiry it effectively led certain experts into the trap of having to once again fabricate and falsify evidence.

And to produce fabricated charts of marks which are not identical I believe takes some considerable skill and shows clear intent.

A poster on Iain McKie’s website some weeks ago led us to believe the Inquiry would conclude evidence had been fabricated. The more I see the more I believe this will indeed be the case.

One thing is for sure incompetence cannot be behind the actions of the SCRO Experts.

Again this reminds me of a statement from the SCRO Union representative:
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.
I am intrigued as to how Unison, the Experts Union will react to the Inquiry Report. If fabrication is reported will they now call for criminal charges to be brought?

As we near the Inquiry Report I was also fascinated by the evidence to the Justice 1 Committee by current SPSA Experts Alister Geddes who gave evidence to The Fingerprint Inquiry, and wonder if his statements will be supported by Sir Anthony Campbell? ... tm#Col3494
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.
And I leave the final word to SCRO Expert Alan Dunbar who gave this desperate statement at Justice 1. Will he be shown to be accurate? I think not.
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.

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Taggart » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:45 am

I also want to highlight one of my previous postings from the archives regarding the use of rolled impressions in this case. I produced this at the time of the Justice 1 Inquiry. I do so believing Swann and his lawyer, David Russell, will try and discredit the Fingerprint Inquiry over this issue.
In reality they are using this as a pure smokescreen to try to deflect from the truth that Swann got it horrendously wrong, and I belive they will continue to do so once the Inquiry reports.
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.

“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 reason for this posting is to bring to your attention should Swann or Russell allege the Inquiry is in any way flawed because a rolled impression of Y7 was not used, ignore them. It is blatant lies and nothing short of a pitiful desperate smokescreen to detract from the truth.

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Pat » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:52 pm

Hi Taggart

One reason Mr. Swann was so much fun to watch was because he was so self contradictory. The plain impressions that I took from Shirley McKie were made with a consciencious effort to duplicate direction and pressure of touch in the inked print with that determined by an analysis of the latent, Y-7. I believe that while we mostly used inked 10-print cards for comparisons, when we have the chance to fingerprint a person to compare a specific latent, the best inked print for comparison is one that duplicates the touch represented in the latent insofar as possible. Nonetheless, Mr. Swann was highly critical of me for using a plain impression rather than a rolled impression.

That might lead one to ask how Mr. Swann took inked fingerprints from Shirley McKie when he was her first defense expert, before I arrived on the scene. The answer is simple: Mr. Swann never fingerprinted Shirley McKie. He relied on the charted enlargements provided to him by SCRO with sixteen numbered little red lines. When he reexamined the latent print after my testimony, where did he get his prints? Ah! From the newspaper, of course! A Scottish newspaper had an enlarged photo of a fingerprint on the front page labelled as Shirley's, so Mr. Swann used that as his exemplar! Never mind that it was a plain impression, an enlargement of one I had taken from Shirley.

I believe Mr. Swann did obtain one set of fingerprints from Shirley McKie at some point. He had a solicitor take Shirleys fingerprints with an office stamp pad and mail that set to him. I wonder what those fingerprints looked like. He never criticized the solicitor's method of taking inked prints, so presumably he found that method superior to mine.

But I am quite sure you are correct in your prediction of his reaction to the Inquiry report. Even now, I imagine Mr. Swann and Mr. Leadbetter are planning their response. What fun it will be to review their comments over the Christmas break.

The views presented in this post are those of the author only. They do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or any of its components.

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Big Wullie
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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Big Wullie » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:45 pm

Hi Pat

It was the Daily Mail (possibly Dandy) Peter Swann took his image from.

Here is a short reminder of the 16 points Swann used:



The above was Peter Swanns slide 19.

The shocking 16 points he confirmed in Y7:


I believe this was also a photocopy sent to Swann.

He confirmed these 16 points for SCRO to come to the enquiry and claim their 16 points did not actually show on this image as the image machine jumped.

Anyone see how confirmation bias crept into Swanns work here ?

Alex Neil asked him here if it was the dandy (Comic Magazine) that he took it from:

Iain McKie
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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Iain McKie » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:21 am

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.
http://www.thefingerprintinquiryscotlan ... 75.46.html
As always my thanks to all experts who have supported Shirley over the years.

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Taggart » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:47 am

I recently posted the original terms of reference of the Fingerprint Inquiry. I now want to highlight the role of the Scottish Government and in particular the Justice Secretary in relation to the forthcoming Fingerprint Inquiry Report.
If we go back to 2008 we find the following Parliamentary statement given by the Justice Secretary.
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.
I would like to highlight some of the above:
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.
A firm commitment from Scotland’s Justice Secretary that things have to be resolved. That matters are set right and that Scotland will have a Fingerprint Service that everyone can trust.

This has to be seen as extremely positive as it shows that the Justice Secretary cannot simply ignore the findings of the Inquiry or try and sweep them under the carpet. He needs to be in a position to prove what he said in 2008. He needs to take positive action to ensure that Scotland does have a Fingerprint Service that can be trusted. He needs to oversee or put in place a mechanism to ensure that all the wrongs identified are put right and matters resolved.

I wonder how exactly he will do this. Firstly I believe he has to embrace the final Report and support the findings. He has to put in place a mechanism that ensures the recommendations are implemented.

There is considerable pressure on the Scottish Government to get this right. I recall when Shirley McKie initially took legal action there was concern as to who was ultimately responsible for the SCRO experts. The Scottish Government stepped in and accepted liability for the actions of the experts.

If, or should that be when, the Inquiry find against current serving Scottish Fingerprint Experts the Government must also accept responsibility for them and their actions. And remember the Justice Secretary is on record as stating that Scotland needs a Service that everyone can trust. Which effectively means he must take the initiative to remove any individual who goes against this. If people have made errors and for 14 years have failed to admit them, or indeed acted in a manner which compounds those errors, he has a responsibility to deal with them.

I am awaiting the Justice Secretary’s official statement when the Report is published. I also wonder if he will be the first to publicly apologise to the McKie’s for the errors which have affected them now for over 14 years.

I am also looking forward to else will make similar apologies. The SPSA? Strathclyde Police? Ken McIntosh of the Labour Party who backed the wrong horse?

Although the Report is critical, it will only be truly effective if the recommendations are acted upon.

At one time Scotland claimed it had a world-class fingerprint service. Not now. Has anyone the strength or resolve to make this a reality?

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Taggart » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:57 am

As we get ever closer to the Inquiry reporting back I wish to bring to your attention the following line from SCRO supporter Ken McIntosh (current favourite to be announced as the new Labour Party Leader in Scotland 3 days after the Report is published) and question his integrity. This was quoted by McIntosh during the Justice 1 Enquiry. Given the obvious findings of the Inquiry will he still adhere to his comment?

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.

Ken, I could not agree more, and I look forward to you asking those who you were so unfortunate to back, to own up to their misidentifications!

Nice work Ken! I hope you still have your principals.

Sam the man
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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Sam the man » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:38 pm

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.
I would be interested to know which of the possibilities mentioned above Daktari now thinks is the most likely to emerge?

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Pat » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:33 am

Hi Sam

I would question assertion #2 in Dakkers' claim. That statement seems to have emerged from SCRO itself with no official report or outside source that I am aware of to back it up. If an audit were conducted, I would be curious to know if the auditor were actually given all of the cases worked by SCRO during an extended time period, or if SCRO was allowed to profer only selected cases, while leaving a few others behind in the files, "overlooked" so to speak. Forgive my lack of confidence in that claim of "100% accuracy."

But to the main issue Dakkers is presenting, that those are the only three possibilities. I reject that assertion.

Another possibility, as I have repeatedly stated for over a decade, is one suggested to me very early on by a British examiner familiar with the case. He hypothesized that SCRO was "cleaning up the outstanding marks" when they identified Y-7 to Shirley. To translate for my American friends, the suggestion is that if the fingerprint examiners did not want to answer questions about unidentified latents ("outstanding marks"), they would simply attribute them to police officers, the victim, family members, etc., who had been at the locus (scene). That was generally a safe practice because the "identification" would be noncontroversial and would not attract additional inspection. The problem with Y-7, of course, was that Shirley McKie had never been inside Marion Ross's house. Her inked prints were submitted only for elimination of latents on David Asbury's sweets tin. SCRO did not know that, and assumed that her inked prints were included for full eliminations of crime scene latents. Thus, the original attribution of Y-7 to Shirley was a fast and careless way to simply dispose of that latent and not have to answer any questions about it.

Which brings up an interesting point. I wonder if all of the other "eliminations" in the case have been verified by an independent, outside examiner?

But moving along here, let me present the next hypothesis. Once the identification of Y-7 to Shirley McKie was claimed, they had to defend it because the earlier "identification" that was made to prove Marion Ross's fingerprint was on David Asbury's sweets tin was an intentional erroneous identification. Why would they do that? The possibility is that they thought it would induce a confession from David Asbury. Without the identification of QI-2 to Marion Ross, the case against Asbury was only circumstantial and fell far short of sufficiency to convict. But if the sweets tin could be placed in Marion Ross's possession, that would be a firm nail in David's coffin. Faced with that, surely David would break down and confess.

Except, like Shirley, David was innocent. So no confession was forthcoming. Therefore, they were forced to proceed with the case to court, including the bogus "identification" of QI-2 to Marion Ross. Except the problem was compounded by Shirley's denial that Y-7 was her print. If that information was confirmed, then the identification to QI-2 would also become suspect.

Oh, what a tangled web.

At least, that is one hypothesis. It accounts for everything that occurred in the series of events involving fingerprints following David Asbury's emergence as the primary suspect.

What about it Dakkers? You've been awfully quiet lately. Any thoughts on this hypothesis?

Taggart, a question for you. Your post last week pointed up the remit of the Inquiry does not include bringing any criminal charges. If the only purpose was to find out what happened without actually charging anyone for criminal acts, then why the "warnings" option prior to release of the report? The possibility of "warnings" seems to imply the further possibility of subsequent prosecution. Is that, or is that not, the case?

The views presented in this post are those of the author only. They do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or any of its components.

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Re: McKie Inquiry costs $6m

Post by Big Wullie » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:11 am

A great Reminder: ... 50?mid=547

Cover-up, conspiracy and the Lockerbie bomb connection

Published on Sunday 19 February 2006 00:09

IF THERE is a day when the seemingly inconsequential case involving DC Shirley McKie morphed into the crisis which today is threatening the reputation of Scotland's judicial and political system, it is Thursday, August 3, 2000.

It was already more than three years since McKie (pictured left) had visited a house in Kilmarnock where a woman called Marion Ross had been brutally murdered. Since then McKie had been accused of entering that house unauthorised, and leaving her fingerprint on the crime scene. She had been charged with perjury, after claiming in court she had never set foot in there. She had been humiliated at the hands of her former colleagues.

Now, on that August day, a group set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (ACPOS) to examine the McKie case, was faced with a stunning report. It had already been established that the fingerprint experts at the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) had got it wrong and that the print was not McKie's. Now, the document in front of the group - an interim update from James Mackay, the man they had asked to investigate the case - claimed the SCRO officers had acted criminally to cover up their mistakes. The consequences were immense: if Scotland's forensic service was both guilty of errors and of attempting to conceal those errors, what confidence could anyone have in the entire justice system?

Last week, Scotland on Sunday revealed the contents of Mackay's final report, which had been kept secret for six years, and which was never acted upon by Scotland's chief prosecutor, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd. This week, we can reveal that it was not just police and prosecutors who knew its contents; the devastating findings of the interim version were passed on to ministers as well.

Mackay, a much respected former Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside police, had been commissioned to investigate the McKie case after a separate report by HM Inspectors of Constabulary had found that - despite the SCRO's claims - McKie's prints had never been at the crime scene. Mackay now probed deeper. As this newspaper revealed last week, his final report found that a mistake had been made, yet had not then been owned up to. "The fact that it was not so dealt with," he reported, "led to 'cover up' and criminality."

Now Scotland on Sunday has been passed documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation which show that on the same day that Mackay's interim findings were being given to police chiefs, the then Justice Minister Jim Wallace was also informed of the results. The language used to describe Mackay's findings to Wallace was even starker than that used in the report itself.

The proof comes in an e-mail written by a senior official in the Scottish Executive Justice Department, Sheena Maclaren, to another senior Justice Department official, John Rafferty. Maclaren, who was the secretary of the Department's second police division, handled the correspondence of Wallace.

On September 20, 2001, Maclaren wrote: "James Mackay, then DCC Tayside police, was appointed to lead the investigation of the issues relating to fingerprint evidence. On 3 August 2000, we were informed that investigations so far suggested that the evidence given in court by... SCRO fingerprint personnel was 'so significantly distorted that without further explanation, the SCRO identification likely amounts to collective manipulation and collective collusion'."

She added: "Mr W Rae, then President of ACPOS and President of SCRO's Executive Committee, decided that given the circumstances, all Chief Constables concluded that there was no alternative but to 'precautionary suspend' the 4 SCRO personnel. This was done on 3 August by the Director of SCRO. Ministers, copied to Richard Henderson and others, were informed of this decision in a minute from John Rowell on 3 August 2000."

Rowell, another head of police in the Scottish Executive's Justice Department, sat on the executive committee of the SCRO. A minute of the committee meeting on October 27, 2000, attended by Rowell, confirmed that he too saw Mackay's findings. "Mr Rae [the chairman] had made available copies of [Mackay's] Interim Report," the minute declares.

Last week, before being confronted with today's revelations, the Scottish Executive confirmed it had never been given sight of Mackay's report. A spokesman for the Justice Department said: "It would not have been appropriate for Scottish Ministers to have seen the report. It remains a confidential report between the police and the Crown Office and Scottish Ministers (except for the Lord Advocate in his capacity as head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal's office) have never been passed a copy of the report." Asked whether the First Minister had seen the report, his spokesman replied: "No - and neither have any other Ministers past or present as this was a confidential report between the police and the Crown Office."

After being told about the e-mails yesterday, a spokesman for the Executive insisted that they only referred to Mackay's interim findings, not to his full report which was published some months later. The spokesman said: "This e-mail exchange simply confirms that the Executive was made aware of the rationale for that action [suspension of the SCRO officers]. As the e-mail makes clear, this was interim information provided to the Executive in the year 2000 around the time of the suspension decision." The spokesman said that a civil service note had been sent to Wallace after the August 2000 meeting which "would have confirmed the reasons why there were going to be suspensions". The spokesman added that it was for the Lord Advocate, not his fellow ministers, to act on the findings of the Mackay report.

Last night there were further questions from the McKie family and their supporters over why, when faced with such staggering allegations, ministers failed to do more to address the SCRO's failings.

Iain McKie, Shirley McKie's father, said: "This reveals that at that time in August 2000, the Mackay report was being discussed within Jim Wallace's department. The whole case has now reached staggering proportions and if ever a public inquiry was required it is required now."

Wallace was unavailable for comment yesterday - and with his successor Cathy Jamieson remaining silent about the scandal, it has been left to Boyd to explain the inaction. On Friday, he declared that he had seen the full Mackay report and decided that there was still insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone from the SCRO. This decision, taken in September 2001, astonished Mackay. He is understood to have expressed his "surprise" and "disappointment" to the Crown Office and to have relayed his concerns to the then deputy crown agent, Bill Gilchrist. Indeed, so curious is the Lord Advocate's decision not to prosecute, that many are reaching their own conclusions as to why he didn't press ahead with a prosecution.

One is the theory that such a prosecution would undermine the case against David Asbury, the man jailed for the murder of Marion Ross. Such a fear was misguided: Asbury's conviction was quashed anyway in August 2002 on the back of the McKie revelations.

A second theory brings in the shadow of the Lockerbie bombing. Mackay's explosive report into the McKie case that August came three months after Boyd began the prosecution of Libyan suspects Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah. The eyes of the world were focused on Scottish justice. What would it have said of that system if - just as the Crown was trying to convict the bombers - it emerged that fingerprint officials had been involved in "criminality and cover-up"?

Boyd strenuously denies that Lockerbie has any relevance to his judgments regarding the McKie case. When Iain McKie first raised the issue in 2000, Crown Office officials declared that Lockerbie "had not affected in any way the response from this or indeed any other department of the Scottish Executive to the issues raised by you."

But there is clear proof that senior justice chiefs had a stake in both cases; SCRO director Harry Bell, for example - whose agency was coming under such scrutiny - was a central figure in the Lockerbie investigation, having been given the key role in the crucial Maltese wing of the investigation, and given evidence in court.

Today's revelation that two American fingerprint experts who savaged the SCRO over the McKie case were asked by the FBI to "back off" suggests that plenty of people were aware of the danger that the case could undermine the Lockerbie trial.

Former MP Tam Dalyell - who has long campaigned on the Lockerbie case - said: "I have always felt that there was something deeply wrong with both the McKie case and the Lockerbie judgment. It is deeply dismaying for those of us who were believers in Scottish justice. The Crown Office regard the Lockerbie case as their flagship case and they will go to any lengths to defend their position."

The pressure for a full public inquiry is now growing day by day.

It is understood that, this week, the Scottish Parliament's Justice 1 Committee will consider launching a full parliamentary inquiry. One thing is sure: this murky affair looks set to rock the foundations of Scotland's criminal justice system.

• SCOTLAND on Sunday revealed last week that justice officials were warned six years ago by police of "cover-up and criminality" in the Shirley McKie fingerprint case. Our story was picked up across Scotland, leading to calls for a judicial inquiry from MSPs.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson is now under growing pressure to act over the scandal but - nearly two weeks on - has so far refused to talk once about why ministers decided to offer 750,000 to Shirley McKie, just as she was about to take her case to court.

Lord Advocate Colin Boyd is also in the firing line, over his decision not to press charges against fingerprint experts, despite the allegations of criminality. Jim Wallace, Justice Minister when the McKie scandal broke, is also under fire. He was aware of the allegations but failed to act. First Minister Jack McConnell is under pressure to call a public inquiry.

• TWO American fingerprint experts were warned by the FBI to back off from the Shirley McKie case for fear it would scupper the trial of the Lockerbie bombers.

David Grieve, the senior fingerprint expert at Illinois State police, said that FBI agents pleaded with him to stay silent, fearing the case "would taint the people involved in Lockerbie".

Campaigners for the McKie family last night claimed that the plea to "let everything drop" shed new light on why the former policewoman was denied justice. They believe that the Crown was determined to protect the reputation of the Scottish justice system at a time when it was coming under international scrutiny.

The astonishing claims come as Scotland on Sunday reveals that:

• former justice minister Jim Wallace was aware six years ago that fingerprint experts at the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) were accused of "collective manipulation and collective collusion", yet they were allowed to return to work two years later;

MSPs are preparing to launch their own parliamentary inquiry into the scandal to get to the truth of the allegations.

Wertheim and Grieve, both internationally respected fingerprint experts, were central in clearing McKie in 1999 when she was accused of having left her fingerprint at a crime scene. The case left the Scottish justice system open to claims its fingerprint evidence was unsafe. FBI officers took both aside before the Lockerbie trial in the Hague began in February 2000.

Grieve, the senior fingerprint expert at Illinois State Police, said: "I was asked not to mention anything about the case and not to publicise it because we had to think about the higher goal, which was Lockerbie."

He also claims that the FBI had been visited weeks earlier by an official from the SCRO.

"I was pulled aside and given a lecture on the importance of not embarrassing a 'sister agency' which had 'very important and high profile' cases pending of an international significance. I knew the reference was to the Pan-Am bombing," he said.

Wertheim, a fingerprint expert of 20 years' experience, added: "I was at the FBI for a meeting and one of their people approached me and made the suggestion that I let everything drop."

Iain McKie, Shirley McKie's father, said yesterday that he believed Lockerbie provided a motive for the 'cover up' over his daughter's case.

He said: "I have always suspected the Lockerbie connection, but when I put it to the Lord Advocate, I got nothing from them. I could never understand why they treated my daughter like that. Lockerbie would give them that motivation."

Former MSP Mike Russell, who has campaigned for the McKie family, said: "This new information suggests the context for the Shirley McKie miscarriage of justice. It suggests that this context is much bigger than previously thought.

"It places the Lord Advocate in a completely untenable position and he too must now be considering his future. If he was influenced by this [Lockerbie] then he cannot continue as Lord Advocate."

SNP MSP Alex Neil, another campaigner for the McKies, said: "A lot of people think that there was pressure put on the FBI by the Scottish law authorities which maybe explains some of the bizarre decisions taken by the Lord Advocate."

The link between Lockerbie and the McKie case goes deeper as several police chiefs and prosecutors were involved in both. The director of the SCRO at the time of the allegations of criminality, Harry Bell, was one of the key police officers whose evidence led to the conviction of Abdel-baset Al Megrahi.

Lord Advocate Colin Boyd led the Lockerbie trial, securing a conviction in January 2001. In September of that year, despite the evidence presented by the Mackay report, he decided not to prosecute the SCRO officers over the McKie case.

The SCRO admitted yesterday that its officials had visited the FBI in 1999 and 2000, but insisted the trips had nothing to do with the McKie case.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Crown Office strongly denied that the decision not to prosecute the SCRO officers had been taken with Lockerbie in mind. She said: "SCRO was not involved in any way with fingerprinting in the Lockerbie case, the evidence of which was never disputed at all."

Boyd declared on Friday that he had decided not to prosecute the four SCRO officials because of "conflicting" evidence from fingerprint experts. He added that a prosecution would have to prove criminal intent.

Wilful blindness to the truth threatens to erode justice

IT SHOULD worry us all that after more than six years of embarrassment about the quality of fingerprint evidence in Scotland and the calibre of work done by the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO), the senior prosecutor in the land appears to have learnt nothing.

At the very least, we can say with confidence that the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, has failed to grasp a critical issue at the heart of this debate.

In a letter Boyd sent on Friday to the presiding officer George Reid to explain his decisions to prosecute Shirley McKie for perjury and not to prosecute the four SCRO experts who misidentified a print at a murder scene as hers, he writes: "Since the time the issue arose in the trial of Shirley McKie, there have always been, and there remain, conflicting expert views on the issue of identification of the relevant fingerprints.

"I concluded in 2001 that the conflict in expert evidence was such that there could be no question of criminal proceedings."

In the earlier days of the debate, Willie Rae, then Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway and now the top man at Strathclyde, said in front of TV cameras that fingerprinting was not an exact science, and that the McKie case was simply a difference of opinion between experts.

More recently, Jim Wallace, while still Justice Minister, reached a similar conclusion. Boyd has now revealed he too remains unenlightened.

Fingerprinting, properly administered, is an exact science. Ask any of the genuine experts, such as Allan Bayle, formerly of Scotland Yard, or Pat Wertheim, the American expert who testified so brilliantly at McKie's trial in 1999. But even common sense should tell us, given the fact that people have been executed - and still are in some parts of the world - on the strength of a fingerprint, that it has to be precise.

There is a stubborn refusal by the SCRO to admit even that an error was made, far less something more sinister, even though the Crown Office and the Executive have long since conceded that point. This pig-headedness ensures that changes that are crying out to be made are kept in check.

The SCRO still makes an identification based on establishing 16 points of similarity. In more advanced centres around the world, experts examine the whole mark and don't work to a numerical, and fallible, standard.

Better practices and training are available, but despite making another major error in a mark left at a bank robbery in Ayrshire two years ago, SCRO continues to spurn them. The result is that Scottish fingerprinting has become a laughing stock around the world.

Independent experts have also been highly critical about SCRO's crime-scene investigation work, described by Bayle as the worst he's ever seen. The organisation must be forced to acknowledge its many flaws.

There is also a pressing need to break the strong link between the SCRO and the police service, especially Strathclyde Police. The current director, John McLean, was an Assistant Chief Constable with the force. His predecessor, Harry Bell, was a Det Chief Superintendent there.

Agencies involved in detecting and solving crime, the police, forensic examiners, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, tend to form bonds and pull together. But that has to be resisted as it undermines the necessary independence of each of those bodies.

Scientists and analysts who examine crime scenes for fingerprints, traces of DNA and any other clues should simply be concerned with finding the best evidence and passing it on. They should not become part of the drive to secure the conviction of an accused person. It has been suggested to Scotland on Sunday that SCRO experts have in the past been given targets to meet in making positive identifications. That should never happen. A print either matches a crime scene mark or it does not.

International experts have proved the mark in Marion Ross's home was not left by McKie; five colleagues of the four who insisted it was refused to support their identification; an independent inquiry by senior police officers found evidence of criminality on the part of the SCRO. Yet the organisation, with no dissent from the Executive or the Crown Office, continues to stand by its discredited experts. It does not bode well for Scottish justice.


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