Specialist struggles with Bain rifle fingerprint analysis

The difficulties of communicating with the other side of the world, even with the most modern technology, were highlighted in the Christchurch High Court today.

Independent fingerprint specialist Carl Lloyd had to return to England after completing his evidence in chief in the David Bain retrial late last week and was cross-examined over a video link.

But Crown counsel Kieran Raftery struck problems when asking Mr Lloyd to comment on fingerprint pictures relating to the case.

When a photograph of David Bain's fingerprints on the rifle used to kill five members of the Bain family on June 20, 1994 was shown on his video screen, Mr Lloyd said ''That doesn't look anything like a fingerprint from where I'm sat''.

''It looks like something on a piece of wood and it's getting worse as it's drawn closer,'' Mr Lloyd said in response to the technician's efforts to improve the focus.

Asked by Mr Raftery if the print had a reddish tinge, Mr Lloyd said it had ''a purplish tinge'', but he could not say what it was.

''I wouldn't know it was a fingerprint in front of me.''

To check if it was a print made in blood, he would have to look at it under a Polylight at the appropriate light filter setting. He agreed the general shape looked like a fingerprint and that the ridges appeared dark.

But attempts to improve the focus were making the whole picture pixellate.

''I still can't really see and my nose is nearly touching the screen. I can't make out any ridges - it looks like something swimming about in a pond'', Mr Lloyd told the court.

He completed his evidence just after midnight, his time.

His view, based on the material he had seen was David Bain's prints on the rifle were not in blood. And he maintained that today.

The pictures he saw showed white ridges on the prints. If the prints were in blood the ridges would show as dark, not white, Mr Lloyd said.


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