It is noticeable at the Inquiry that the Justice organisations such as the Crown Office, Police and SPSA are very much engaged in a watching brief apparently intent on as little hands on involvement as possible. How happy they would be to see the spotlight focussed firmly on individuals tearing each other apart while they hid away in the shadows.
The current actions of Elish Angiolini, the Lord Advocate, are incredibly interesting, given the lengths her predecessor, Colin Boyd, went to, to withhold vital information, both to the Justice 1 Enquiry, and to Iain McKie leading up to the Civil Case, where a number of important documents were blocked. The total refusal to hand over the full Mackay Report to the Parliamentary Enquiry being a prime example.
What we now find is a complete reversal. The last Lord Advocate’s actions now being totally exposed by the announcement of the present Lord Advocate that the full Mackay Police Investigation Report will be handed over to the Public Inquiry Team. Along with all papers they hold in connection with the case.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind these actions are a deliberate attempt to shift the focus away from the Crown Office, and straight back to the SCRO Experts. Damage limitation on the part of the Lord Advocate.
She has also promised to hand over all the charts and productions prepared by the SCRO Experts in preparation for the Civil Case.
As the year of the Inquiry has finally arrived I would like to make a rather controversial statement.
I believe the forthcoming Inquiry will turn out to be a huge turning point for the future of Fingerprinting as a Science.
Far more damaging than any Daubert Hearings have been.
This will see two opposing sides giving evidence as to the correctness or otherwise of the identification of two fingerprints in the Marion Ross case.
And at the end of this Inquiry there will be a definitive deliberation we can be assured.
And the reality is the Inquiry can only report with two possible conclusions. The Identifications are correct, or they are incorrect.
The third scenario that the print contains insufficient characteristics to individualize has in effect been ruled out by all parties.
The vast majority have nothing to fear from this Inquiry.
If I was a betting man I know exactly where my money would be on the final deliberation. Well actually we already know from the overwhelming evidence available that the fingerprints in question are erroneous.
If anyone cares to question this I am sure any Kasey will be only too pleased to post charts demonstrating why I am wrong, should anyone be prepared to stand up for the SCRO Experts.
So let me suggest the Inquiry reports back that the fingerprints are erroneous. Now things get interesting. By their own admission, the SCRO Experts have publicly stated they at no time have made “honest mistakes”.
Where would that leave us? With only two possible scenarios. Either there was gross incompetence within the Scottish Criminal Records Office, or there had to be criminality involved.
So why do I suggest this has such major implications for the Science?
One side will be shown to be incorrect, but they will fail to accept the findings and fail to accept their errors.
In other words they will fall back on the “opinion” argument.
Can both sides be correct? No.
Can experts use the “opinion” argument for justification? No.
One hundred years of fingerprinting could be damaged beyond comprehension with this Inquiry.
Experts publicly contradicting experts. Those who are wrong trying to defend the indefensible at all costs.
Let me ask Experts from around the World how you deal with the McKie Case if you are giving evidence? Have you been asked about this case in cross-examination? What are your responses?
This Inquiry will bring the science into the spotlight like never before. Defence agents will be given license to attack the credibility of the Science at every turn. Legitimately. And who could blame them? How are you going to be able to justify the actions of some of your peers? Blame incompetence perhaps? Try and avoid the questioning at all cost? Worth thinking about I suggest.
I believe the route of “Truth and Reconciliation” is still the way forward. There are those out there who will be struggling with their consciences at present over this Inquiry. Do they go forward in a futile attempt, naively hoping to somehow come out the other end unscathed, or do they finally do the honourable thing and end what must be a living hell for them?
This Inquiry is not a game, and could have potentially devastating consequences for some of the participants.
It is not a gamble I would wish to take, given the risks involved.
But then again I am have no need to fear the outcome of this Inquiry! Unlike some.