Negligence of Forensic Scientists Results in Delay of Justice
A case of a forensic scientist’s carelessness has been observed by the Southwark Crown Court in London.
According to the case, a man suspected of raping a 17-years old girl had remained unidentified for five years because of a Metropolitan Police forensic scientist who caused undue delay to the investigation.
Ursula Collins, 43, used to work as a Met forensic scientist in London, who was suspended soon after the case was discovered. At present she is on trials at Southwark Crown Court facing the charges of misconduct at public office.
It has been claimed that Collins knowingly neglected her duties in eight criminal probes, including five separate allegations of rape, driving whilst unfit, robbery, and a shooting, between 2009 and 2018.
Out of the rape incidents, in one case the suspect had left the country and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had closed the case by the time a DNA match was found after another scientist took over the case.
While in the case of 17 years old girl rape, the suspect was identified through DNA analysis after five years of the incident. A pair of knickers and a sanitary towel were first sent to the laboratory on November 2012 for DNA analysis but no results were found.
However, when they were re-examined following a review of the file in March 2018, a positive match was found. Due to the delay in the investigation the victim showed unwillingness to cooperate with police by that time.
The prosecutor Deanna Heer KC, during the hearings in the court on Monday, said that Collins is a qualified and experienced forensic scientist who plays a key role in the investigation of a crime. Still, she causes undue delay to investigations and created an obvious and significant risk to the integrity of those criminal investigations.
The prosecutor added that, Collins knew very well that what will be the possible consequences if she failed to perform her duties properly. It will increase the risk that the perpetrator of a crime might not be identified.
Also the indeed risk that delay would mean that victims would lose faith in the investigation and decline to support it yet Collins neglected her duties.
Collins was suspended in 2018, and is on trials since then. Till now no robust verdict have been made by the court and is looking further for the case.