CARTAS ROGATORIAS 3 Pages 21 to 25
Dated May 14 2008
I am a retired police offer, previously at the service of the South Yorkshire police. Between August 1-8, 2007, and while working for the South Yorkshire police, I collaborated with the Judicial Police, Portugal, as regards their Operations Task Force.
On the 17th of August 2007, I completed a report for the Head of Investigations of the Judicial Police, which was submitted by the Leicestershire Police. This report is exhibited as MG/1 and identified by the label bearing my signature. The Judicial Police is in possession of the originals of the search reports and the videos showing all searches performed and the reaction of the dogs. In addition to the report, Sam Harkeness of the Progresso Nacional Police Agency sent me by email several written questions sent by the Judicial Police together with a request for a written deposition. This deposition was submitted without me having seen or having knowledge of the final report from the forensic agency responsible for analyzing the evidence submitted in this case.
Questions and Answers:
Could you explain the methodology regarding the performance of the dogs bearing in mind the searches that were performed?
Please refer to my original report included in the summary (MG/1).
Could you provide a detailed summary of the orientation capacity of the dogs, as well as an interpretation of the indications provided by them in the specific cases?
Please refer to my original report included in the summary (MG/1).
The interpretation of any alert is given when the dogs recognize a specific odour as a result of a response to the behaviour for which they were trained. This response must then be submitted to a forensic examination in order to draw conclusions.
In order to establish the accuracy of the dogs' performance with respect to the alerts given when recognizing blood and a body, to what extent are these indications viable in this particular case?
The dogs' alerts are to be considered as an area of interest or possible testing. When specific and reliable this can only be measured for confirmation. In this case in particular, where the dogs alerted there was confirmation by positive results from the forensic examinations. It is the investigators' responsibility to apply the results of the forensic analysis to the suspects, witnesses and crime scenes.
Based upon the dogs' behaviour, is it possible to distinguish between a strong signal and a weak signal?
The dogs' passive CSI alert provides an indication as per their training and does not vary. They only give an alert when they are 'positive' that the target of the odour is present and immediately accessible. If they had any doubts they would not give an alert. EVRD gives an alert by means of a vocal bark. The variations in the vocal alert can be explained by many reasons such as 'thirst' or 'lack of air due to effort'. Every alert can be subject to interpretation, it has to be confirmed. The signals of an alert are only just that. Once the alert has been given by the dog, it is up to the investigator/forensic scientist to locate, identify and scientifically provide the evidence of DNA, etc.
Can you confirm if the signal given regarding the stuffed toy corresponds to a concrete alert of detection of a cadaver, or a mere trick played by the dog?
The dogs were not taught any 'tricks'. EVRD 'signalled' the toy, which at my request was retained by the Judicial Police for future forensic analysis. I have no knowledge of the results of any forensic analysis on the toy.
With respect to the cadaver odour on Kate's clothes, could it be undoubtedly affirmed that those clothes had been in contact with a cadaver?
Could the alert have been given because the clothes had been in contact with other items of clothing, surfaces or objects that could previously have touched a cadaver, thereby allowing the odour to be transferred?
There is always a possibility of contamination of odours by transferral. EVRD does not make a distinction; he responds with a certain behaviour for which he was trained when he recognizes an odour. He does not identify the reasons for the presence of the odour nor does he identify suspects. Forensic confirmation and specialized investigation methods will determine the reasons and the suspicions. In order to undoubtedly affirm there must be a confirmation of the alert signals made by the dog.
The EVRD dog also alerts to blood from a live human being or only from a cadaver?
The EVRD dog is trained using whole and disintegrated material, blood, bone tissue, teeth, etc. and decomposed cross-contaminants. The dog will recognize all or parts of a human cadaver. He is not trained for 'live' human odours; no trained dog will recognize the smell of 'fresh blood'. They find, however, and give the alert for dried blood from a live human being.
Taking into account the signals of CSI, could the dog alert to other biological fluids?
The dog that alerts to human blood is trained exclusively for this purpose, and includes its components, plasma, red cells, white cells and platelets. Given the nature of the training, the dog will not alert to urine, saliva, semen sweat, nasal secretion, vaginal secretion or human skin unless these are mixed with blood. The components of blood are approximately:
Red cells 40-50%
Plasma 55% (of which 95% is water)
DNA can only be removed from white cells.
This would suggest that, of the samples signalled by the dog looking for human blood, approximately 5% are available for DNA tests.
Is there any chance, however remote, of any confusion?
The dogs do not get confused. They transmit a behavioural response inspired by the recognition of the odour for which they were trained.
How long does a cadaver have to be in contact with a surface or an object for the odour to be detected?
Cross-contamination is immediate.
How long can a trace of blood remain at a scene and be detected by the CSI dog?
During both training and operations, the CSI dog correctly located and signalled the presence of blood from 1960. This is not at all surprising. If enough blood is present so that the dog can recognize its odor, he will locate it and alert to its presence. There is no time restriction as regards the recognition of the odour by the dog. Blood, however, is subject to deterioration such as time and other natural processes such as dilution due to rain and other reactive chemical agents.
Can the dog mix up traces of human odours with others that are non-human?
I cannot comment on what the dogs think. However, from a forensic point of view and from confirmations of scientific testimonies, the dogs appear to be extremely exact. But, forensic confirmation is required in all cases so as to be included as proof. The CSI dog is trained using only human blood. And using a wide spectrum of donors to ensure that the dog does not individualize them.
EVRD used to be trained using swine (pigs) as their odour is the closest to that of humans. But most of the time, however, the dog was trained using the odour of a human cadaver. Operationally, the dog has ignored large amounts of animal remains/bones when locating human decomposition.
Based upon your experience with the dogs, can you specify whether the positive signals given by them have always matched the scientific results?
I cannot. In this case, for example, not all the alert signals have been investigated by the appropriate agencies in order to provide forensic comparations, in spite of indications to the contrary. It also should be taken into account that the procedures for forensic testing are still less discriminating than the system of dogs' smell.
During training, the dogs are barely rewarded for positive alert signals regarding targets of known substances.
At any time, did Gerald McCann address, either in Portugal or the United Kingdom, the performance of the dogs in this case?
I never met nor spoken to Gerald McCann. However I do know that he addressed my head supervisor at the time, the South Yorkshire Head of Police, or Mr. Meredith Hughes.
This deposition was made by me and is true according to my understanding.
Justice has prevailed. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all who have made this possible.