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McConnell attacked for "political" McKie claims

7 March 2006

Lord McCluskey has reacted with anger to First Minister Jack McConnell's suggestion that calls for a public inqury into the Shirley McKie case are "politically motivated".

The retired judge was joined by Derek Ogg, QC, spokesman for the Advocates' Criminal Bar Association, who also said he had no political axe to grind and that an inquiry would serve to heal the rifts between the parties. Mr Ogg added that most people in the legal profession believed Cathy Jamieson was a good Justice Minister, but on this occasion she had got it wrong.

Former policewoman Ms McKie was awarded £750,000 in an out-of-court settlement last month after being wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprints at the house where a woman was found murdered.

Since then, a number of MSPs, legal figures and the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents have called for an inquiry.

Mr McConnell has said that such calls are politically motivated and designed to turn the issue into a political debate, rather than a justice one.

Gordon Dalyell, Ms McKie's solicitor, said matters raised by the case struck at the heart of the criminal justice system and that the issue went beyond party political affiliation.