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Date: 30 May 2006

Fingerprint experts finally get the chance to state their case

The four fingerprint experts who identified the disputed fingerprint in the Marion Ross murder case as that of Shirley McKie, have finally been allowed to state their case.

Hugh MacPherson, Fiona MacBride, Tony McKenna and Charlie Stewart gave evidence to the Justice 1 Committee's enquiry into the SCRO today (Tuesday 30 May).

Although angry and disappointed that the £750,000 settlement agreed between the McKies and the Scottish Executive has denied them the opportunity to put their case in court, and have the whole issue tried fully, the fingerprint experts welcomed the opportunity to refute allegations of malicious conspiracy made by the McKies and their supporters.

UNISON - the union that represents the four experts - said that a step forward in balancing the one-sided campaign had been made. UNISON spokesperson, Kath Ryall, said: "Our members have been hung out to dry. 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. We are angry that our members have had no legal opportunity to clear their name, but at last there has been some limited opportunity for them to state their case.

The four experts said in their evidence that they stand by their identification, and that experts outside the SCRO (and all who were asked inside SCRO) agree with their idents. Indeed two of those outside experts were appointed by the McKie and Asbury defence teams. There will be a press conference with the experts and their representatives held in Committee Room 3 of the Scottish Parliament immediately after they have finished giving their evidence.

Please contact Chris Bartter or Ken Macintosh MSP for details Hugh MacPherson, one of the four, said "Our job is to provide the information to those whose job it is to decide whether or not to prosecute, and what evidence to use. In this case we stand by our identification. We accept neither accusations of malicious conspiracy, nor honest mistake in this case. Independent experts have agreed with our identification.

"Our work has been constantly checked - for a year both before and after this identification and has in all cases been found to be accurate, professional and correct. We have faced seven years of allegations, suspensions, untruths, half-truths investigations, and reviews. We want this enquiry to find the truth - that we didn't act maliciously, and that we did our job to the best of our ability.

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact: Kath Ryall (Regional Organiser) 07904 341 971(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729(m) or 07958 120 676(m) Des McNulty MSP 07714 450 850(m) Ken Macintosh MSP 07971 961 158(m)

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