#Forensics scandal – Reinstated Scottish fingerprint expert gets the boot – again

Fingerprint comparison can be a subjective technique (www.clpex.com)

Is there a common source for these prints?

Shirley McKie was and maybe still is, a fingerprint detective with a Scottish police agency. In the late 90’s she was part of a murder investigation that centered on identifying the man later convicted but released years later. The fingerprint of defendant Asbury was found on a tin at the murder scene. Collection of other unknown prints brought up detective McKie’s on a door frame, according to staff examiners. During criminal proceedings, McKie denied having been at the crime scene. That brought into question the integrity of the crime scene processing (the OJ defense) which led to Asbury’s overturned conviction.

Some very upset prosecutors put the detective on trial for perjury in 1998. She was acquitted in 1999.

She got canned.

She sued. More than once. Political inquiries then abounded.

“Furthermore, a member of the Scottish Parliament somewhat unusually invited fingerprint experts from around the world to examine the prints. 171 experts from numerous countries all reached the same conclusion – that the two latent prints [ errata: McKie’s archived 10 print and the door frame evidence ] did not match.”

The four in-house Scot print examiners later were cobbled up in this mess and most retired.

Two compensation packages were awarded. The first was for L750,000. The most recent amounted to L300,000  for back pay since 2007. Plus a court order to be reinstated at her job at the Scottish Police Authority.

That last part didn’t happen, as after 10 years being off the job, the cops locked her out this week when she arrived for her shift.

One determined lady. Kudos.

Forensic Failures: The Shirley McKie Fingerprint Scandal (2015).

The story up to 2011 that is on Wikipedia.  (caveat emptor).






About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in Crime lab scandal, criminal justice reform and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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