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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2007, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
McKie print experts 'forced out'
Fingerprint
Ms McKie's fingerprint was wrongly linked to a murder scene
Four fingerprint experts at the centre of the Shirley McKie fingerprint scandal have left their jobs.

BBC Scotland understands that they took redundancy from the Scottish Fingerprint Service on Friday.

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh said the officers concerned had been "forced out of the door" and "gagged".

The McKie case centred around a print found at a murder scene which was wrongly identified. The former detective got 750,000 compensation.

Forensic scientists

The fingerprint experts left the SFS the day after the resignation of the man in charge of the service.

Ian Todd stepped down as acting director of the Scottish Criminal Record Office, which encompasses the SFS, after a year in the job.

Although he came to power long after the Shirley McKie affair, Mr Todd reportedly supported the forensic scientists involved in the case.

Ms McKie, a former policewoman from Troon, Ayrshire, was accused of leaving a fingerprint at the Kilmarnock home of murder victim Marion Ross 10 years ago.

Four officers originally identified the print.

Six officers, who have given long years of public service, have been investigated over and over again and have always been cleared
Ken Macintosh
Labour MSP

But Ms McKie challenged the findings of the experts and was later cleared of perjury.

Two other fingerprint officers involved in the case are also expected to take redundancy.

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, who sits on Holyrood's Standards Committee and has spoken on behalf of some of the officers, told BBC Scotland they had been shown the door and prevented from speaking out.

He said: "Six officers, who have given long years of public service, have been investigated over and over again and have always been cleared.

"Yet what is happening is that they're being shown the door and forced to sign contracts in which they are gagged and not allowed to speak about this case in public.

"They are not being offered any kind of decent enhancement and the contrast between their treatment and the 750,000 paid to Shirley McKie is disgraceful."

'Tainted experts'

Iain McKie, who has campaigned on behalf of his daughter Shirley, said any experts "tainted" over the affair had to go to ensure the fingerprint service's credibility.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "There's no doubt in my mind that unless they rid the new service of the tainted experts, then the new service will have no credibility.

"While I have got no feeling about individual experts myself, I feel that this action will take the new service forward."

A Holyrood inquiry into the case found there were "fundamental weaknesses" in the fingerprint service which had to be addressed.

The inquiry also ruled there was no evidence the fingerprint officers concerned had acted maliciously when they made the identification.

The fingerprint service is due to be taken over by the new police service body, the Scottish Police Services Authority, from next week.


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