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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, July 4, 2005

The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

PB Police Buy New Fingerprint Equipment   DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC, MO - June 24, 2005 ...some of the more advanced methods of obtaining latent fingerprint evidence...

Experts Back Fingerprint Case Ex-Policewoman SCOTLAND TODAY, UK - June 28, 2005 ...three experts have added their voices to calls for an independent inquiry into the Shirley McKie case...

CSI Manville   THE MANVILLE NEWS, NJ - June 30, 2005 ...Manville police Detectives Michael Guilbert, Ronald Gazaway and John Crater often use their crime lab...

Fingerprint Expert Resigns, Leaving City in Her Dust   GRAND JUNCTION DAILY SENTINEL, CO  - June 28, 2005 is the latest in a series of resignations at the Police Department...

The Message Board is finally operational.  The transition to the new web servers was a bit more problematic than expected, but issues are finally worked out and posts can be done with no errors.

Last week

we looked at articles on a potential Daubert hearing on simultaneous impressions and the report from Ron Smith and Associates regarding the Stephan Cowans case.  Unfortunately, when the Cowans article was copied from the Boston Phoenix website, the bullet points around two of the paragraphs copied as quotation marks into the Weekly Detail. 

The original article is located at:

Specifically, Ron Smith said he received a barrage of e-mails and telephone calls regarding specific statements that appeared to have been made by him by the mis-printed quotation marks, but in fact they were not in the report.  For example, Ron's report never stated that "LeBlanc was told to make the prints match.", but it could appear from the way the quotations transferred to the front of the paragraph that this might be the case.  My apologies for the mis-perceptions resulting from the transfer of the Boston Phoenix article from their website to the Detail.

This week

we continue to keep abreast of current latent print related events with a major turn of events in the McKie case!  SCRO examiners go public and there is talk of out-of-court settlement.  Even more details are available on, but here is some of the latest:
New Shirley McKie Case Developments
From Ian's McKie Updates:

* What a week that was !! As one of the most momentous periods in our campaign comes to an end we are finally seeing a light at the end of a very long tunnel with real hope that Shirley’s 8 year trauma is coming to an end.

* The week started with the sensational revelation that 3 experts from Grampian Police fingerprint bureau Gary Dempster, John Dingwall and John McGregor, had published a report concluding that, ‘We are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the mark disclosed on the crime scene photograph was not made by the left thumb of Shirley McKie.’ They went on to express concern at the way the new Scottish Fingerprint Service was being developed. ‘We believe that integrity and openness are absolutely paramount to the future of fingerprint evidence in Scotland.’ The report ended with a recommendation that there should be an independent investigation into the whole case by experts from outside the UK

* At a packed media conference held in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday, Shirley and Iain flanked by long term supporters Michael Russell and MSP’s Alasdair Morgan and Fergus Ewing spoke about the impact of the report - the first comment by Scots experts since the ‘Lothian and Border’s 14’ were so disgracefully treated in 2000 after asking for an enquiry. They praised the experts for their honesty and integrity and expressed the hope that their Police bosses would not seek to discipline the experts but would commend them for their actions. Television, radio and newspaper coverage was extensive and Iain was interviewed on ‘BBC Newsnight Scotland’

* Thursday brought the remarkable news that the Scottish Executive had instructed its lawyers to enter into negotiations with Shirley’s legal team led by QC Andrew Smith with a view to reaching a settlement. In what was clearly a political initiative from the very top of Scottish government it was also revealed that it has been admitted that the fingerprint, first identified by the SCRO experts, is not Shirley’s and that this will be formally entered into next years civil case court papers.

Fingerprint battle takes new turn

Shirley McKie has thanked the officers for supporting her.

The case of a former police officer at the centre of a six-year battle over a fingerprint has taken a new twist.

Three experts from the Scottish Fingerprint Service obtained a copy of the fingerprint evidence by accident.

They have concluded that the thumbprint found at a crime scene was not left by Shirley McKie, who was later sacked from her job.

The Scottish Criminal Records Office rejected any suggestion that it was not delivering "fair justice".

Miss McKie was a detective constable when Marion Ross, 51, was found murdered at her home in Kilmarnock in January 1997.

During the investigation, fingerprints were found on a door frame at the victim's home.

A report by the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO) said that one of the prints belonged to Miss McKie.

SCRO rejects any suggestion that it is failing to play its part in delivering fair and effective justice

SCRO statement

During the trial of the man accused of the murder, she denied that the print was hers. She was arrested later and charged with perjury but was acquitted after a trial in 1999.

She and her father Ian, a retired police officer, have campaigned to clear her name and have taken legal action against Scottish ministers, who are responsible for the Scottish Criminal Records Office.

The then Deputy First Minister, Jim Wallace, apologised but she has not received compensation for losing her job and the Criminal Records Office has not accepted that a mistake was made.

Independent inquiry

The three Scottish Fingerprint Service experts, from Grampian Police, have sent copies of their findings to the Lord Advocate and their own chief constable.

John McGregor, John Dingwall and Gary Dempster, who have 54 years' experience between them, said they were unable to remain silent on an issue which was of "extreme importance" to the future of the profession in Scotland.

Their report stated: "We are satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt that the mark disclosed on the crime scene photograph was not made by the left thumb of Shirley McKie."

They said that an independent inquiry should be undertaken by experts from outside the UK.

Ms McKie thanked them for speaking out on her behalf and said: "I would like to thank everybody for taking an interest and continuing to take an interest in this."

Doubt has been cast on the work of the SCRO

A statement from the Scottish Criminal Records Office said legal proceedings involving the McKies were ongoing and it was inappropriate to comment further.

It went on: "However, SCRO rejects any suggestion that it is failing to play its part in delivering fair and effective justice.

"We believe that the organisation continues to provide an effective and professional fingerprint service.

"It has been subject to a detailed and rigorous review - and subsequent follow-up - by the independent police inspectorate and found to be both efficient and effective. "

Ms McKie and her father have produced experts from the US who have discredited the Scottish Criminal Records Office's findings.

The McKies have also been supported by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish National Party MSP Fergus Ewing called the saga a "blot on the reputation of parliament" and called on Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to look at the case.
Executive Moves to Settle McKie Case Out of Court

LUCY ADAMS July 01 2005

THE Scottish Executive is prepared to negotiate with Shirley McKie, the former police officer seeking £750,000 in damages after losing her job following false accusations of perjury.

Ms McKie lost her position with Strathclyde Police after her thumbprint was said to have been found at the home of murder victim Marion Ross.

In 1997, David Asbury was jailed for Ross's murder, but his conviction was overturned after independent experts cast doubt on claims that prints found in the house, in Kilmarnock, belonged to him.

Ms McKie was cleared of lying on oath in 1999, after insisting the print found at the murder scene was not hers.

Her plans to sue the Scottish Criminal Records Office (SCRO), which made the identification error, was blocked by ministers who said that records office staff should be given immunity from prosecution. But a ruling by Lord Wheatley meant that her claim could go ahead against the executive, representing the SCRO.

A spokeswoman for the executive said: "We can confirm that we have written to Ms McKie's solicitors indicating our willingness to explore whether there is any scope for resolving matters without proceeding to litigation. We want to make it clear however that we are doing so on the basis that we are not admitting liability." She would not comment further as the matter was sub judice.

Iain McKie, the ex-officer's father, said: "This decision is long overdue but there are still lots of matters to be discussed.

"It seems quite clear that this is an admission that this is not Shirley's fingerprint and we are certainly pleased to hear this. We hope it will mean she does not have to go through more months of psychological hell."

Ms McKie planned to sue the executive for £750,000. Five weeks had been set aside in court early next year, but yesterday ministers wrote to Ms McKie's lawyers to discuss settling the matter out of court.

The letter follows calls this week from her supporters for the executive to negotiate, as three fingerprint experts published a report saying the print was not Ms McKie's. John McGregor, John Dingwall and Gary Dempster, of Grampian fingerprint bureau, also called for an independent inquiry.

Mike Russell, the broadcaster and supporter of the McKies, said: "This is a step in the right direction and the first step towards a rational outcome."

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Updated the Detail Archives.

Updated the Training page with a new Ridgeology Science Workshop in Colorado, August 22-26, instructor: Glenn Langenburg.  This course is only 8 weeks away, so reserve your seat today if you are interested: will hold your seat.

Updated the Training page with information on IAI Training through Ron Smith and Associates.  Courses are scheduled for Demystifying Palm Prints, Courtroom Testimony Techniques, and Advanced Fingerprint Comparison.

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Have a GREAT week!