Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bulletin: Ross Monaghan; Scotland; Acquitted in gangland slaying after court hears about transfer of DNA evidence from police officers to the accused - and a "disturbing" claim by a forensic expert relating to a discussion about a single particle of firearms discharge residue with a detective superintendent involved in the investigation: BBC News; (Must Read HL);

STORY: "Ross Monaghan acuitted of murdering Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll," published by BBC News on May 4, 2014.

SUB-HEADING:   " Ross Monaghan had been accused of shooting Kevin "Gerbil" Carroll outside Asda in Robroyston, Glasgow, in January 2010."

GIST: "A man has been acquitted of murdering gangland figure Kevin "Gerbil" Carroll after a judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict him. Ross Monaghan, 30, denied shooting Mr Carroll, 29, in the Asda car park in Robroyston, Glasgow, in January 2010.........The father-of-one was also cleared of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of the two guns used in the shooting and torching the getaway car on 13 January 2010. ........ The only evidence produced against Mr Monaghan during the trial was the finding of a minute quantity - a tenth of a billionth of a gram - of his DNA on the handle of one of the guns used to kill Mr Carroll. The DNA of a lab technician, who had never touched the gun and worked three floors above where it was stored, was also found in the sample analysed by forensic scientists, along with that of three unidentified men. Defence QC Derek Ogg said: "This incident with the lab worker just shows how mobile DNA is and how it can innocently transfer from one place to another." A single particle of firearms discharge residue - invisible to the naked eye - was found on a jacket seized during a raid of Mr Monaghan's Penilee home in July 2010. But that evidence was discredited when a firearms officer admitted that he and his colleagues had been at a gun training exercise earlier, and were still wearing the same uniforms which would have been covered in firearms discharge residue. After hearing from a forensic scientist, Lord Brailsford ruled that the particle was inadmissible as evidence because it was scientifically meaningless. He said that it could easily have got on to Mr Monaghan's jacket through secondary transfer from the firearms officer's clothing. Forensic expert Alison Colley, from the Scottish Police Service Authority (SPSA), told the hearing, which took place without the jury present, that a single particle was insufficient to draw any scientific conclusion from. But she said she had been asked to form her conclusion using the particle at the request of a detective superintendent involved in the investigation. The judge said he found her claim "disturbing"."

The entire story can be found at:

See also:  Related Herald Scotland editorial calling for release of a report into the police improprieties in the case:  "The initial concerns about the trial centred on two main areas. The first was the collection of DNA evidence and the risk of contamination. Police officers who searched Mr Monaghan's home found a single particle of firearms discharge residue but they were wearing uniforms they had worn earlier on a firearms training exercise, meaning their clothing could have been covered with bullet residue. "The second area of concern was over the relationship between police and forensic staff at the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA), which now falls under the Scottish Police Authority (SPA). Forensic experts should be independent and maintain a professional distance from the police to prevent a miscarriage of justice, but a forensic expert told the trial that she filed a report stating the residue particle was of a similar type to that used in cartridges recovered from the crime scene because a police officer asked her to do so. At the time, the trial judge Lord Brailsford strongly criticised these elements of the investigation, saying he found the evidence of the forensic expert disturbing and making it clear the search of Mr Monaghan's home gave rise to contamination. They were criticisms that had to be thoroughly investigated to ensure such serious oversights were not repeated and an investigation was duly carried out by the Home Office Forensic Science Regulator, which monitors standards for the provision of forensic services to the criminal justice system."


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