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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 17:16 GMT
McKie inquiry proposals accepted
Shirley McKie
Ms McKie secured an out-of-court settlement from the executive
The recommendations of an MSPs' inquiry into the fingerprint service have been accepted by the Scottish Executive.

The Justice 1 Committee highlighted a series of failures in the management of the Scottish Fingerprint Service.

The inquiry came after former detective Shirley McKie was cleared of perjury over a fingerprint at a murder scene.

But the justice minister said she was not persuaded that the executive should have insisted on a gagging clause when it reached a settlement with Ms McKie.

The former Strathclyde Police officer had been accused of leaving a fingerprint at the Kilmarnock home of murder victim Marion Ross 10 years ago.

The committee's assessment of the issues appears to have a lot in common with the assessments made by the organisation
Cathy Jamieson
Justice minister

She challenged the findings of fingerprint experts working for the Scottish Criminal Record Office and was later cleared of perjury.

Last year she received a 750,000 out-of-court settlement from the executive and a parliamentary inquiry was launched to see what lessons could be learnt.

The SNP demanded Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson's resignation when the report was published last month after the longest ever inquiry by a Holyrood committee.

In her response to the committee's report, Ms Jamieson said: "Many of the issues were familiar to us, and indeed the committee's assessment of them appears to have a lot in common with the assessments made by the organisation."

The report said ministers should have included an agreement to prevent the McKie family discussing the case publicly because one of the executive's goals in settling out-of-court was to draw a line under the case.

Independently verify

However, Ms Jamieson said she was "not persuaded" by that suggestion.

The executive response accepted 10 specific recommendations and said a call for the Crown Office to review procedures for storing trial evidence, including fingerprints, was a matter for the lord advocate.

Among the recommendations accepted is a call for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out an internal review of inspections of the SCRO after 2000, to consider lessons for the future.

Another recommendation is for the Scottish Fingerprint Service to set up a standing arrangement for an independent fingerprint bureau outside Scotland to verify disputed SFS identification.

The executive said discussions were now being held with the National Fingerprint Board on formal arrangements for referring disputed identifications to other parts of the UK for "clarification".


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