[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 17:20 GMT
MSPs vote against McKie inquiry
Shirley McKie
The programme claims officials misled the court in the McKie case
MSPs have voted against demands for further inquiries into the case of former police officer Shirley McKie.

The Scottish Parliament has backed ministers, who argued that the case had already been "exhaustively investigated", by 64 votes to 51.

However, there may still be inquiries by parliamentary committees.

The vote comes as a BBC documentary claims it has evidence that fingerprint officials deliberately misled the court at Ms McKie's perjury trial.

Ms McKie was cleared of lying on oath in 1999 after insisting that she had not left a fingerprint at a murder scene nine years ago.

Independent experts believe the Scottish Criminal Records Office removed conflicting details from the print said to belong to Ms McKie.

Speaking on the Frontline programme, an American expert said a cropped version shown in court reduced the differences.

The Crown Office has said there was not enough evidence for a prosecution.

Series of charts

Last month the former detective was awarded 750,000 in compensation.

American expert Pat Wertheim spoke to the BBC documentary, which is being screened on Wednesday.

He said: "The SCRO prepared a series of three charts in this case and from the first to the second to the third they progressively cropped and removed detail from the crime scene mark.

The perception might be that if you were to crop it that you we were maybe trying to hide some detail
Gary Dempster

"Finally on the third chart they went to a smudged fingerprint of Shirley McKie's that obliterated even more of the detail that didn't match."

Independent Scottish fingerprint expert Gary Dempster said he had never heard of a cropped print being used to demonstrate an identification to a jury in a Scottish court.

"We would certainly try to show the whole fingerprint," he said.

"The perception might be that if you were to crop it that you we were maybe trying to hide some detail."

Criminal charges

However, Kath Ryall from Unison said: "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 been brought against them.

"I would suggest that criminal charges have not been brought against them quite simply because they did not fabricate the evidence."

Last month Lord Advocate Colin Boyd told MSPs it would have been wrong to prosecute officers from the SCRO over the case.

"It does not follow that because Ms McKie was acquitted that those who gave evidence against her must be guilty of perjury," he said.

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has urged the prime minister to back calls for an independent judicial inquiry.

Referring to a story in Wednesday's Scotsman newspaper, Mr Salmond said Tony Blair should support an inquiry "so that justice can be seen to be done".

Mr Blair said he would have to read the newspaper article before responding.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch details of the vote and the fresh allegations



SEE ALSO
Salmond renews McKie inquiry call
04 Mar 06 |  Scotland
MSPs pressing for McKie inquiry
02 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Leaders unite over McKie concerns
28 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Minister's statement on McKie case
22 Feb 06 |  Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific