Monday, October 15, 2012

DNA lab error sent innocent 19-year-old to jail for months

A woman was raped in Manchester, a city Adam Scott, 19, had never even visited, but Mr. Scott was arrested and charged with the rape and thereafter spent three months in jail.

Why? Because LGC Forensics in Teddington, South West London, which does scientific testing for Greater Manchester Police, allowed Mr. Scott's DNA sample (which police had on file from an unrelated matter) to come in contact with a swab collected from the rape scene. The contaminated DNA made it look for certain that Mr. Scott was the rapist.

Now, Forensic Scientist Regulator Andrew Rennison has issued a report (found here: that says Mr. Scott was an “innocent victim of avoidable contamination.

Rennison’s report stated that, “It is estimated that the chance of obtaining matching DNA components if the DNA came from someone else unrelated to Adam Scott is approximately one in one billion (one billion is one thousand million). In my opinion the DNA matching that of Adam Scott has most likely originated from semen.”  Rennison said that the procedures were not adequate and that the records were not maintained properly by the technicians. He cited that used trays were not marked to indicate that it was already used.
Scott disclosed in a statement that he was angry that he was wrongly accused and that the false allegations had caused him and his family great pain.

When Mr. Scott was arrested, police said he was “absolutely adamant that he had never been to Manchester so that gave us some concern.” But obviously not enough concern to believe him over the results of DNA testing. The lab pinpointed Mr. Scott as the culprit, and that all police needed to arrest and charge him.

“I am angry I was falsely accused. I am angry about the amount of pain it has put me and my family through," said Mr. Scott. "I sincerely hope justice comes for the victim and the true rapist is caught.”