Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fingerprint evidence in the courtroom: Not fact but opinion. Anna Sandiford: Sciblogs. (Important perspective. HL);

STORY: "ID by fingerprints: not fact but opinion," by Anna Sandiford, published by Sciblogs on May 29, 2012.

GIST: "Many people in New Zealand still seem unaware of the substantial shake-up going on in forensic science globally. A lot of it has come from the USA National Academy of Science’s review on forensic science. Some has come from the UK Law Commission’s review of forensic science practices. One of the many areas of interest is fingerprints....A more recent report came out of the Scottish Fingerprint Inquiry that followed from the case of HM Advocate v McKie. In that case, Shirley McKie was a police officer who attended the scene of a murder as part of the police investigation team. Of the 428 fingerprint marks lifted from the scene, one was identified as having been made by Ms McKie. During the trial of the accused, Ms McKie was a witness and she asked about the fingerprint attributed to her. She did not accept that the mark was made by her; the mark in question was found inside the house and she said she had not entered the house beyond the porch. The defendant was found guilty and after the trial Ms McKie was charged with perjury and was herself tried. Two well-known international fingerprint experts disputed the finding that the fingerprint attributed to Ms McKie was made by her. She was found unanimously not guilty by a jury. One of the key findings of the Fingerprint Inquiry was that: “Fingerprint evidence should be recognised as opinion evidence, not fact, and those involved in the criminal justice system need to assess it as such on its merit.".........Fingerprint examination and interpretation is opinion evidence, not fact. Accordingly, the results should be worded accordingly and, in the adversarial system, can be challenged as opinion evidence, just like many other areas of forensic science."

The entire post can be found at:


I am monitoring these issues. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.