Man labelled as rapist for six months was ‘innocent victim’ after mistake by Manchester forensics firm

By Dean Wilkins

An innocent man who was charged with raping a woman in Blackley and held in custody for months was the victim of basic human error at a Manchester forensics firm, a report claimed today.

Adam Scott, of Devon, was arrested after a sample of his DNA was re-used in the analysis of a rape victim by LGC Forensics.

But the avoidable contamination left officers charging an innocent man with a crime he did not commit, the forensics watchdog revealed.

“The contamination was the result of human error by a technician who failed to follow basic procedures for the disposal of plastic trays used as part of a validated DNA extraction process,” forensic science regulator Andrew Rennison said.

“The procedures themselves were not adequate, leading to no records maintained by the technicians and nothing done to mark used trays as such.”

Mr Scott was charged on October 23 last year after a woman was attacked in Plant Hill Park, Blackley, and was only acquitted on March 7 2012.

The report also found that the same mistake had happened before on October 12 2011 and Mr Rennison claimed that that ‘should have triggered a more comprehensive response than that undertaken’.

“It is unlikely that the case against Mr Scott would ever have proceeded to trial and, in the absence of any further evidence, the case would probably have been discontinued,” he said.

“However, this is of little comfort to Mr Scott who was charged on October 23 2011 and remanded in custody on this case until it was withdrawn on March 7 2012.”

But UK Accreditation Service (Ukas) insisted that LGC should retain their accreditation after making a number of improvements – the firm said the ‘deeply regret’ the mistakes.

“The Forensic Regulator and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service have expressed their satisfaction with our investigation into the incident, the corrective actions and LGC’s overall contamination avoidance and checking processes,” a spokesman said.

“LGC treats incidents like this with utmost seriousness and we look forward to continuing to provide excellent forensic services to the criminal justice system.”

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