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Forensic Science Service

Volume 692: debated on Friday 18 May 2007

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Joan Ryan) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am placing in the Library today a copy of the report of the independent review conducted by Alan Rawley QC and Professor Brian Caddy into work carried out by the Forensic Science Service Ltd (FSS) in connection with the investigation into the death of Damilola Taylor in November 2000. During the course of two trials involving two brothers who were found guilty of Damilola’s manslaughter, evidence presented by the prosecution suggested that there were serious quality failures in the examination by the FSS of clothing sent to it as part of the original investigation.

The review has concluded that there were no systemic failures in the procedures carried out by the FSS at the time but that there were human errors made by some individual scientists, which is extremely regrettable. Its report makes a number of recommendations, and I have asked the chair of the FSS to provide me with a considered response to those recommendations concerning the FSS. I will then be able to give full consideration to all the report's recommendations.

I wish to thank Mr Rawley and Professor Caddy for their very thorough review of the FSS’s handling of some of the evidence in this case. I also express my sincere apologies to Damilola Taylor’s family and acknowledge the further distress this has undoubtedly caused them.