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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 12:28 GMT
Fingerprint officer fights on
Shirley McKie being fingerprinted
Ms McKie was tried for perjury and cleared
A former policewoman who was wrongly accused of contaminating evidence during a murder trial has vowed to take her fight for justice to the civil courts.

An internal investigation at the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) cleared staff of any wrong doing, even though fingerprint evidence they gave against Shirley McKie was discredited in court.

Ms McKie has previously tried unsuccessfully to sue Strathclyde Police over the matter.

The former Strathclyde detective was charged with perjury during a murder investigation in 1997.

Shirley McKie, and her father, Iain
Shirley McKie plans to press on with a civil action
David Asbury was jailed for life for killing a woman in Kilmarnock, but he has since been released, pending an appeal.

He was released after serious doubts were cast on the fingerprint evidence which was crucial to his conviction.

During the same case, a former Strathclyde detective, Shirley McKie, was charged with perjury after claims that her thumb print had been found at the crime scene.

Cannot say sorry

An investigation involving five leading fingerprint experts led to all charges against her being dropped.

No charges were ever brought against SCRO's experts, and on Wednesday they were cleared by an internal inquiry.

Ms McKie said she was disgusted, but would still settle for an apology.

"People had an opportunity to admit that mistake when I said I had never been in that house," she said.

A fingerprint
SCRO fingerprint experts were cleared

"But for some reason - arrogance, complacency, I have no idea why - they have decided they cannot say sorry.

"Please, someone who has done this, who is responsible, not the justice minister as he does not identify fingerprints, people who identified this print - they know who they are. Come to me and say sorry because that is all I have ever wanted."

Human rights groups and MSPs have declared the inquiry a whitewash, an accusation denied by the Chief Constable of Grampian Police Andrew Brown, who also chairs the SCRO Executive Committee.

The McKie family have said they will take their case through the civil courts to ensure that staff at the SCRO are forced to accept responsibility for their mistakes.

BBC Scotland's Asad Ahmad reports
"The SCRO employees will return to work within the next few weeks"
See also:

14 Feb 02 | Scotland
Fingerprint detective claim rejected
24 May 01 | Scotland
Praise for criminal records agency
12 Dec 00 | Scotland
Fingerprints woman to sue
03 Aug 00 | Scotland
Fingerprint experts suspended
16 May 00 | Scotland
False impression: transcript
18 Jan 00 | Scotland
Finger of suspicion: transcript
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