28 Tuesday Jun 2016
In January 1997 a fingerprint was taken from the scene of a murder. This print was identified by Ms McBride (the appellant) and three colleagues as being from Detective Constable Shirley McKie, who denied ever being at the locus. In what was referred to in the media as the “Shirley McKie fingerprint scandal”, DC McKie was later charged with perjury but acquitted.
The appellant and her colleagues were suspended from duties following PC McKie’s acquittal; however, no misconduct was found. On her return to work, the appellant was placed on restricted duties: she no longer countersigned fingerprint identifications or attended court to provide expert evidence.
Some years later, the fingerprint service was transferred into a new Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA). The appellant’s employer believed that the continued employment of experts involved in the high-profile McKie case would be damaging to the new body’s reputation. It would not countenance a return by the appellant to court-going duties, but neither was it prepared to allow her to continue working on restricted duties.
The appellant was given the options of redeployment, a severance package or dismissal. She argued that she should remain in post and be permitted to return to full duties. Ultimately, her employment was terminated on 1 May 2007.