Thursday, April 19, 2012
14 years to get an apology for the injustice that Strathclyde Police put Shirley McKie through, Chief Constable Stephen House clears up loose ends!
How corrupt is Scotland?
It has taken 14 years for the chief constable of Scotland's largest police force, Strathclyde Police to make an unprecedented apology to former detective Shirley McKie.
Shirley McKie suffered massively in the infamous fingerprint case which wrecked her career and health.
In return she got £750,000.
What should have happened is that the compensation should have been millions and she should have been offered a return to active police work after completing a refresher course.
The £750,000 was to get rid of her and move on by sweeping as much under the carpet as possible.
Stephen House is apologising on behalf of his force for the "pain and suffering" it caused to Ms McKie and her father Iain after meeting them last week.
Shirley McKie had the entire establishment against her, her own force turned against her, the Crown Office was hell bent on convicting her, the Fingerprint service tried to cover themselves, she was pressurised to admit the fingerprint was hers and the Labour/Lib Dem Executive sat back and did nothing.
Shirley McKie was wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprint at a murder scene, but fully exonerated by a public inquiry.
She was tried for perjury in 1998.
Everything humanely possible was done to deny her justice even to the extent the fingerprint was continually cropped to try and match hers.
And everything done to convict her was an ‘innocent mistake’.
Although Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill ordered the public inquiry, the net result is that it was always about ensuring protection for the status quo, it wasn’t a quest for justice on behalf of Shirley McKie.
The criminal justice system in Scotland is tainted.
On development however by inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Campbell was to recommend that fingerprint evidence should be now "recognised as opinion evidence and not fact".
In his report, Sir Anthony said the fingerprint in question, known as mark Y7, had been "misidentified as the fingerprint of Ms McKie", due to human error.
Then comes the fluffy bit, he said that "no conspiracy against Ms McKie".
I wonder how many people actually would believe that statement, given everything humanely possible was done to put every obstacle in her way?
Stephen House said:
"I am satisfied that the report did not find fault in the way in which officers of Strathclyde Police had conducted themselves throughout the course of events”
Other than being disloyal rats by getting her in a room and try to make her confess to something she never did?
"I thought that it was entirely right and proper that I apologised to them for the very lengthy and very public process that they had had to endure, and for the pain and suffering that they have experienced as a result. Both were officers in Strathclyde Police and it is my belief that Shirley, in maintaining the truth under such traumatic circumstances, adhered to the highest ideals of the police service; displaying honesty and integrity of a remarkably high manner. Both Shirley and Iain appreciated the fact that I had met with them and, like me, they hope that lessons can and will be learned as a result of these events, and that the Campbell Report will have a positive effect on forensics and fingerprint practices here in Scotland."
Or you could look at House’s apology in another way, clearing this off his desk because the Campbell Report came out, tidying up loose ends so he and his service can jog on.
If House is sincere, then the correct thing to do is to give Shirley McKie her job back; that is a powerful statement of intent.
So, what would I say to Stephen House?
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University