McKie expert 'couldn't keep job'

HAVING the fingerprint expert at the centre of the Shirley McKie fiasco continue in her job was "not an option'', an employment tribunal was told yesterday.

Fiona McBride, 43, who is fighting to regain her job with the Scottish Police Service Authority (SPSA) – which replaced the Scottish Fingerprint Bureau, where Ms McBride worked, last April – was sacked on the grounds of capability a month after the new body was launched.

But the agency refused to discuss the decision that she was not capable of returning to that role, attempting to confine talks to her redeployment.

David Mulhern, the SPSA chief executive, insisted Ms McBride, who is claiming unfair dismissal, refused to discuss redeployment, and told the tribunal in Glasgow: "Continuation of Fiona McBride as a fingerprint expert was not an option."

Mr Mulhern had earlier told the tribunal Ms McBride was dismissed as she was unable to exercise her role as fingerprint expert because she could no longer appear in court and was unwilling to discuss other job options.

Ms McBride was one of four specialists who had identified a fingerprint taken from the scene of a murder as that of police detective Shirley McKie. Ms McKie denied she had been at murder victim Marion Ross's home at the trial of murder accused David Asbury, who was subsequently convicted and jailed for life.

Ms McKie was charged with perjury but acquitted following the evidence of another fingerprint expert. She later received 750,000 in settlement of a civil damages claim. Mr Asbury was acquitted and released after Ms McKie's perjury trial.

Ms McBride, who denied the print had been misidentified, was the only one of the six staff to transfer to the new authority.

The hearing continues.

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