25 September 2003 Edition
Forensic scandal has massive repercussions
It is remarkable that the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy has not made any comment following revelations made last week in a Belfast Court the senior members of the PSNI have attempted to interfere with the work of the Forensic Science Agency to wrongly convict people.
In any other judicial system, a revelation that senior members of the police force have, over a period of years, interfered in the work of a Forensic Science Agency in order to wrongfully convict people, would spark outrage.
It says much about public confidence in the system of justice in the Six Counties that most people are not surprised by the revelation.
The case in which the revelations were originally made was dismissed because there was no evidence linking the man charged to the action. Despite this, senior PSNI members attempted to secure his conviction based on false and flawed forensic evidence.
Who are these senior officers? We can only assume they are Special Branch members and because of their seniority, close colleagues of the Chief Constable, Hugh Orde. Yet no statement has been made by Hugh Orde, his boss Paul Murphy or any member of the Policing Board, many of whom are not known for shying away from public comment.
From this silence are we to assume that the above individuals condone this practice or do not feel it important?
It is time for those who defend this force to tell us straight what they think of this scandal. It is time for the Secretary of State to speak on this matter and it is time for the many hundreds, if not thousands, of people convicted in the Diplock Courts on the basis of Forensic Evidence to seek a review of their convictions.