Perhaps this will bring all this pseudoscience claptrap to a halt
DNA on trial in Peter Hoe murder appeal
Aug 31 2009 by Gareth Lightfoot, Evening Gazette
THE Peter Hoe murder appeal will hear from a former FBI chief scientist and could have international ramifications, the Gazette can reveal.
DNA evidence is to be put to the test when brothers David and Terry Reed appeal against their convictions for the murder of Teesside strongman Peter Hoe next month.
Their solicitor James Watson told the Gazette today: "The outcome in the Reeds appeal is likely to be of critical importance, not just in English law but to legal systems throughout the world.
"It's bringing together a range of worldwide experts who fundamentally disagree with the science that has been used in England.
"The ramifications of Reed are potentially worldwide at the moment.
"The outcome of the legal and scientific argument will be persuasive throughout the developed world."
It is thought that the case will take centre stage in an international dialogue about the use of DNA evidence.
The debate revolves around the `Low Copy Number' (LCN) DNA testing technique - a method allowing forensic scientists to produce DNA profiles from smaller samples containing very few cells.
The Reed appeal, before Court of Appeal judges in London, will start on October 20.
David Reed, 31, and Terry Reed, 27, of Tennyson Avenue, Grangetown, always denied the murder of Peter Hoe.
They were convicted in 2007 and are serving life sentences with a minimum of 18 years each before they can apply for parole.
Dad-of-six Mr Hoe, 43, bled to death from stab wounds in his living room in Jubilee Road, Eston. His body was found on October 13, 2006.
The Reed brothers' lawyers are to argue that their convictions were unsafe.
They will raise concerns that the use of LCN DNA may be unreliable and could risk producing "freak" or inaccurate results due to the small size of the samples.
They are expecting to call Professor Bruce Budowle, previously the FBI's premier biological scientist.
The geneticist, who worked for the bureau for 20 years and helped pioneer DNA fingerprinting of crime suspects in the 1990s, is to fly over to the Reed appeal from his current workplace at the University of North Texas.
Mr Watson added: "Everyone regards him as being a pre-eminent world expert on the issue of LCN DNA.
"We're bringing world-renowned experts into the Court of Appeal to argue that LCN DNA is unreliable and sooner or later is going to convict an innocent man. There are just so many imponderables with this DNA.
"For the first time we've got LCN DNA finally up as an issue in a court that's binding.
"There have been at least a dozen convictions in England using LCN DNA. They're all trying to appeal.
"Because the Reed case is the first one, the Court of Appeal in England is going to give guidance.
"The Reed case has been a catalyst to bring together world concerns about the reliability of LCN DNA testing.
"All the American cases are watching this and are fascinated at Budowle coming here.
"There are all sorts of cases around the world waiting for a definite judgment from a court. Our Court of Appeal has put itself at the head of the world issue on this point."
Mr Watson, from Middlesbrough law firm Watson Woodhouse, representing the Reeds, previously said their verdicts were "the most troubling conviction in the 25 years I've been a solicitor". He said there were "grave doubts" about the safety of the convictions.
The LCN DNA method was questioned in the Omagh bombing case, in which a man charged with killing 29 people in the 1998 Northern Ireland bombing was acquitted.
The judge in that case rejected LCN's use, saying it was not yet seen to be at a sufficiently scientific level to be considered evidence.
He said the chance was too great that material from innocent people could be mixed with that of the culprit.
The Reeds' legal team may also call two more experts.
Mr Watson said no US state had allowed the LCN DNA science to be used as evidence in court.
A California court rejected an attempt to introduce LCN DNA evidence earlier this year with the judge ruling the analysis results as inadmissible.
What they aren't telling you about DNA profiles
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