Scientist attacks DNA technique approval

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A LEADING Scottish forensic scientist has cast fresh doubt over a controversial DNA technique used in thousands of trials.

The government ordered an independent review into the use of low copy number (LCN) DNA analysis, which allows a profile to be taken from just a few cells, after its reliability was called into question by the judge who presided over the trial of Sean Hoey, accused of the 1998 Omagh bombing.

The review, chaired by Brian Caddy, emeritus professor of forensic science at Strathclyde University, concluded earlier this month that LCN DNA profiling was "robust" and "fit for purpose".

But Professor Allan Jamieson, director of the Glasgow-based Forensic Institute, has launched a broadside on the review panel, saying its conclusions are "universally derided".

Prof Jamieson, interviewed in The Scotsman's Law and Legal Affairs pages today, said: "We are at a loss to connect the content of the report with the conclusions... Taking the review as the 'final word' on the technique is an error with potentially serious consequences for the reputation of British science and for the criminal justice system."