HC Deb 15 July 1981 vol 8 cc1172-3
38. Mr. Canavan

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland on how many occasions the Crown Office called on Dr. Alan Clift, senior forensic scientist at the Home Office, to give evidence at prosecutions in Scotland.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

Dr. Alan Clift has been called by the Crown to give evidence as a forensic scientist in Scotland in only one case: that of Her Majesty's Advocate v. John Preece.

Mr. Canavan

In view of the recent case of John Preece and all the other cases, whether north or south of the border, in which Dr. Clift's evidence has been discredited, will the Solicitor-General for Scotland consult his legal friends the Law Officers south of the border with a view to an inquiry about all the cases in which this man's evidence was heard? Is it mere coincidence that Mr. Preece was wrongfully convicted of murder and that Paddy Meehan, for example, was also wrongfully convicted of murder and that both had as their defence counsel the Solicitor-General for Scotland, who is as fanatical a believer in capital punishment as the Ayatollah?

Hon. Members


The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I am happy to answer, but I cannot answer for the Ayatollah, and I have consistently voted against capital punishment. If the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) ever requires, as he may, my services as a defence counsel, I shall probably not be in a position to supply them and he is unlikely to be in a position to afford them. Of those whom I have defended on murder charges, very few were convicted and both have been pardoned.

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