You are here

Fingers crossed

A quashed murder conviction could be the first step towards a much-needed overhaul of the fingerprint system, says Lucy Corrin

13 June 2011

On 27 February 2007 Hilda Owen, a 71-year-old widow, was murdered in her home in Skegby. She had been attacked and suffered grave injuries. She was left to die. The appellant, her next-door neighbour, found her body and reported it to the police on 1 March 2007.

Mr Smith was, at first, treated as a witness, but he was subsequently arrested and released on bail. Between March 2007 and December 2007, police investigated 17 other potential suspects. Only Mr Smith was later charged with Ms Owen’s murder.

Last month the court quashed his conviction. The reliability of the fingerprint evidence used against him in 2008 was challenged due to fresh evidence from new experts (R v Peter Kenneth Smith [2011] EWCA Crim 1296).

In R v Buckley (Robert John) [1999] 163 JP 561, Rose LJ highlighted the accepted position that fingerprints varied from person to person and that those patterns were unique and unchanging.

Originally there were no standards in p...

Want to read on?

This article is part of our subscription-based access. Please pick one of the options below to continue.

Already registered? Login to access premium content

SUBSCRIBE for one User

Unlimited access to the entire SJ website for a full year for one user.

  • 10 issues a year delivered to you
  • Digital edition of the magazine for one user – sent to your inbox or accessible through the website
  • Access to premium content on the website
  • Access to the fully searchable online archive of Solicitors Journal, Managing Partner and Private Client Adviser, which spans over 13 years
  • Weekly email newsletter with all the latest news, analysis and features
  • Comment on SJ content and contribute to the SJ community online
  • Advanced search feature
  • Online support
  • Access to SJ app compatible with Android and Apple devices – coming soon!
  • 6 special focuses per year
  • Special offers and discounts on Solicitors Journal and IICJ events

Subscribe

CORPORATE SUBSCRIPTION

Your department or entire firm can subscribe to Solicitors Journal online, providing easy access for all who require it. Discount corporate subscription rates apply, based on number of users.

The Corporate IP Licence includes:

  • Digital copy of the magazine sent to individuals’ inboxes and accessible through the website. Solicitors Journal publishes 10 issues per year
  • Unlimited access to premium content on the website based on IP addresses
  • Unlimited access to the fully searchable online archive of Solicitors Journal, Managing Partner and Private Client Adviser, which spans over 13 years
  • Weekly email newsletter with all the latest news, analysis and features
  • Comment on SJ content and contribute to the SJ community online (username required)
  • Unlimited access to SJ app compatible with Android and Apple devices
  • 6 special focuses per year
  • Special offers and discounts on Solicitors Journal and IICJ events

The Corporate IP Licence is tailored to your firm, making it the most cost effective way for the firm to access Solicitors Journal, and enables the firm to remain compliant with copyright and our Terms and Conditions. This gives you the ability to print and circulate articles within the firm.

To enquire about a Corporate IP Licence for your firm, please contact our Subscriptions Manager on emily.beechey@solicitorsjournal.com.