'We are she': protest song pays tribute to McKie

SHIRLEY McKie, the former detective at the centre of one the biggest justice rows of recent years, has received the ultimate accolade: a protest song.

Leading Scottish folk singer and poet Michael Marra has written a song condemning the "lies" surrounding the case.

The McKie case has convulsed the legal and political establishment in recent months after the Scottish Executive agreed to pay her 750,000 compensation for an "honest mistake".

McKie was wrongly accused, on the basis of flawed fingerprint evidence, of unauthorised access to a murder scene, but was acquitted at trial.

Now she has an ally in the shape of 54-year old Dundonian Marra. He said he was inspired to pen the protest song when he had his own fingerprints routinely taken by Customs in Washington last month, where he was performing as part of Tartan Week.

He said: "I'm not a troublemaker, but I just didn't like it. Then it struck me: I didn't do anything for Shirley McKie. I felt guilty. I admired the woman because she just kept telling the truth. I did it [the song] in one full shift overnight."

Marra's lyrics appear to be looking at the universal implications of McKie's battle to clear her name. It opens: "I am Shirley McKie/She is me and I am she/You are too, Shirley is you/We are she because Shirley is we."

Marra's lyrics also refer to First Minister, Jack McConnell, standing naked in the eyes of the "truth" in a thinly-veiled attack on the "lies" surrounding the McKie case.

Marra writes: "We lecture children if they're telling lies/They will not prosper and they will not thrive... /And even the First Minister must sometimes stand naked."

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament's inquiry is due to hear from McKie this week, but the former policewoman's presence is now in doubt.

She and her father Iain are understood to be concerned that the inquiry will be tantamount to her going "on trial" again.

Iain McKie has written to Pauline McNeill MSP, the convener of the Justice 1 committee, asking that the committee agrees from the start that the disputed print was not his daughter's.

Failure to do so, McKie wrote, "would render any definitive conclusions by the enquiry impossible, and instead of adding clarity to the situation would plunge us into allegation and counter allegation about matters that have already been judicially and otherwise settled".

If the committee does not agree, there is a chance Shirley McKie will refuse to attend.

McKie has also asked for all witnesses to placed under oath, following the publication of submissions he claims have peddled lies about his daughter.