Slugger O'Toole

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Expert too ill to be cross examined in Massereene trial…

Fri 16 December 2011, 10:38am

A blow for the prosecution in the trial of two men for the killing of two soldiers at Massereene last year. Their attempt to have the analysis of soil samples as material evidence has been refused by the judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart on the grounds that the expert who conducted the tests, Dr Patricia Wiltshire, is too ill to attend the trial for cross examination…

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Comments (7)

  1. Reader (profile) says:

    michael-mcivor: In your link it says that ” there is also expert evidence that contradicts her findings ” perhaps this is the main reason why she is now sick- afraid of the truth-
    It’s hardly the most likely explanation though. She has given evidence in 200 criminal cases in the past, I think she could probably stand a bit of cross-questioning.
    Have you considered the possibility that she is actually unwell?

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  2. michael-mcivor (profile) black spot says:

    Reader-

    Is she the only person in her work place that is allowed to give this evidence- it would be a sad state of affairs for the law if this is the case-

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  3. Reader (profile) says:

    michael-mcivor: Is she the only person in her work place that is allowed to give this evidence- it would be a sad state of affairs for the law if this is the case-
    I’m sure anyone there could present the report, but the job of an expert witness will also be to stand over the results under cross-questioning. Who else would be able to describe the exact precautions she used handling the samples, what tests she did or didn’t carry out, and why she used tissue culture and not gas chromatography on one sample but not on the other. (e.t.c.)

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  4. Ulick (profile) says:

    Will be irrelevant in the end. This judge is now acting like the referee who has sent off two home side players and the side is 12 points down with only 5 to go – now trying to pacify the crowd by throwing them a few meaningless decisions. The damage was already done when he allowed the tainted DNA “evidence”. The will be a conviction and a vigorous appeal.

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  5. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Ulick,

    Really? On what specific grounds do believe he should not have admitted that evidence?

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  6. Indeed, I mean it worked so well for the Omagh bomb trial.

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  7. Ulick (profile) says:

    Mick, three reasons:

    (i) there is no visible chain of custody on the latex glove. It simply wasn’t there when the car was first examined and magically appeared some weeks later – conveniently after Duffy’s house had been raided. Given that the state has fabricated evidence to put him away in the past and indeed many would say tried to have him murdered, to admit this evidence is, at best, extremely unsafe.

    (ii) the conclusions reached by Perlin based on the low copy DNA from the seatbelt simply cannot be verified. His method is not based on some new technology or way of gaining a complete DNA profile, but a statistical method he has come up with himself, which uses an incomplete profile and infers things from it. At the end of the day this is like coming up with party support figures based on an extremely small sample sizes or tallying from one polling box out of a hundred. That box could be reflective as a whole or it may not be, but there is no way it can be spun to make the definitive claims Perlin came out with.

    (iii) the crime scene was contaminated by the recovery driver and he lied about it. We do not know the extent of this contamination or whether others have also been rummaging around in the car. Who do the other five DNA profiles belong to? Given the high profile nature of the investigation, I’m sure the PSNI have tracked down anyone who has legally came into contact with that car and taken samples to rule them out as well as every dissident republican on this island and further afield. But we still don’t know who they belong too? Given the fit-ups Duffy has been subject to in the past, is it beyond the realms of possibility, that a least one profile belongs to a spook?

    A conviction based on the above (and there is no other evidence) should be of grave concern to us all and a fair legal system has to be paramount in any democracy. That the judge has allowed this evidence clearly indicates he is going to convict, but in view, and I’m no lawyer, any of the above will be grounds for appeal. Should also be said this judge has form in this regard as I believe he is the same one who convicted Paul McCaugherty after a sting operation when he went to buy some dodgy fags and ended up with 20 years for trying to import RPGs – and after the supposed secret MI5 audio recordings implicating him went missing. No problem for our judge though, that a pile of MI5 operatives were able to verify what they heard McCaugherty say was enough for him.

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