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Date: 7 Feb 2006

Sad capitulation to media does not serve Scottish justice - UNISON

UNISON - the union that represents police staff - today reacted angrily to the news that the Scottish Executive has capitulated to media pressure and handed over large amounts of public cash to settle the case of Shirley McKie. UNISON members working in the SCRO expressed their disgust with the Executive's capitulation at a meeting this afternoon and vowed to continue the fight to defend the reputation of their colleagues and get to the truth of this matter.

UNISON believes that the case should have gone to court to allow the SCRO fingerprint experts their opportunity to refute allegations of malicious conspiracy made by the McKies.

UNISON also welcomed the support of Des McNulty MSP and Ken Macintosh MSP, who have continually campaigned for justice for the SCRO members.

UNISON spokesperson, Kath Ryall, said: "Our members have been hung out to dry to save the reputations of others. They have suffered attacks on their competence and integrity for years, have been suspended from duty and are not allowed to work at their true level. Despite having been investigated many times, no evidence of wrongdoing was ever found. Now they are to be denied their opportunity to clear their names.

"Their careers and reputation have been sacrificed for the benefit of others who have an interest in this matter not being fully heard in court. This case has not been resolved and probably now never will be. The Scottish justice system is poorer for this capitulation to ill-founded media pressure”

UNISON believes that the payment to Ms McKie is an abuse of taxpayers money and does nothing to serve the interests of truth and justice. The settlement is based on an Executive admission that the SCRO experts made an ‘honest mistake', which the experts themselves refute.

Kath went on "Indeed it is particularly ironic that one of the disputed marks in the original Asbury case has recently been examined by an independent expert who agreed with the SCRO expert's identifications. One of many vindications of the work and expertise of our members who the Executive have sold down the river.”


For Further Information Please Contact: Anne Russell Regional Organiser - Police) 07904 341 971(m) Des McNulty MSP 07714 450 850(m) Ken Macintosh MSP 07971 961 158(m)