Friday, May 14, 1999 Published at 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Internet makes mark on fingerprint case
Lord Johnston: Case raises "all sorts of issues"
A policewoman has been cleared of perjury by lying about a fingerprint found at a murder scene in Scotland two years ago.
Detective Constable Shirley McKie's solicitor used the Internet to find two fingerprint experts in America who gave evidence on her behalf.
DC McKie said her life had been a "nightmare" since being charged with lying to the trial of David Asbury, who was convicted of murdering a 51-year-old woman at her home in Kilmarnock in 1997.
After the verdict at the High Court in Glasgow, the judge Lord Johnston, took the unusual step by telling DC McKie that he personally respected her "dignity and courage".
He then told the jury that it had been a unique case which raised "all sorts of issues".
The acquittal is a personal victory for solicitor Angela McCracken who believed DC McKie's denials about the fingerpint when no-one else did.
Ms McCracken said: "It's a wonderful result for Shirley McKie, but not for the fingerprint experts from the Scottish Criminal Records Office who all said the print was hers."
Advocate depute Sean Murphy, prosecuting, said the prints were open to interpretation and asked the jury to accept the evidence of the Scottish experts whose total experience amounted to more than 100 years.
The mother of the man convicted of the murder said his appeal would now go ahead.
Ms McCracken told News Online: "The evidence we were challenging is a nationwide system of fingerprinting so we knew we were going to have to go further afield to get someone else to look at the print.
"A search was done under 'fingerprint'. It was as simple as that.
"Sometimes the most brilliant things are very, very simple."