Man accused of rape was innocent victim of DNA sample mistake
Monday 01 October 2012
A man wrongly accused and charged with raping a woman was the “innocent victim” of an avoidable mistake, the forensics watchdog said today.
Adam Scott was arrested and held in custody for months after a plastic tray containing a sample of his DNA was re-used in the analysis of a swab from a rape victim in Manchester by private firm LGC Forensics.
Forensic science regulator Andrew Rennison said Mr Scott, from Devon, was an "innocent victim of avoidable contamination".
"The contamination was the result of human error by a technician who failed to follow basic procedures for the disposal of plastic trays used as part of a validated DNA extraction process," he said.
"The procedures themselves were not adequate, leading to no records maintained by the technicians and nothing done to mark used trays as such."
Mr Scott was charged on 23 October 2011 over the rape of the woman in Plant Hill Park, Blackley, and remanded in custody until the case was withdrawn on March 7 this year, the regulator's report said.
It also emerged that the same error happened at least once before, on 12 October last year, the report added.
That alone "should have triggered a more comprehensive response than that undertaken", Mr Rennison said.
"These errors were compounded by the failure at LGC to consider the possibility of contamination despite concerns expressed by the investigating officer about the reliability of the DNA profile."
He went on: "It is unlikely that the case against Mr Scott would ever have proceeded to trial and, in the absence of any further evidence, the case would probably have been discontinued.
"However, this is of little comfort to Mr Scott who was charged on 23 October 2011 and remanded in custody on this case until it was withdrawn on 7 March 2012."
But the UK Accreditation Service (Ukas) have recommended that LGC retain its accreditation after it put in place "a number of mandatory improvement actions", the report added.
LGC said it "deeply regrets the incident of contamination".
"The Forensic Regulator and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service have expressed their satisfaction with our investigation into the incident, the corrective actions and LGC's overall contamination avoidance and checking processes," the spokesman said.
"LGC treats incidents like this with utmost seriousness and we look forward to continuing to provide excellent forensic services to the criminal justice system."
The report follows concerns from some forensic scientists that the closure of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in March this year will lead to more miscarriages of justice in the future.
Mr Rennison also warned last year that the FSS represented the UK on the international stage and the country's reputation would "undoubtedly" be dented by its closure.
He called for statutory powers to help him regulate standards in police laboratories and elsewhere, saying many laboratories fall short of accepted standards.
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories