Judge wants explanation for fingerprint delay

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A judge has asked for someone to explain why it takes more than five months for a fingerprint comparison.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the request as 40-year-old Patrick John Catterson appeared at the local Magistrate’s Court.

It was revealed there is a delay in the case because a forensic report into fingerprint evidence is outstanding.

Catterson, whose address was given on court papers as Cranagh Terrace, is charged with wounding his brother with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He is further charged with possessing a knife with intent to commit an indictable offence.

The charges relate to an alleged incident in the early hours of July 6.

District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘I would love someone to come here and explain to me why it takes five to six months to compare fingerprints. Maybe perhaps because I don’t know what the process is.’

The judge said he thought the process was almost instantaneous and queried ‘is it just a fiction you put the sample into a computer and that does all the work?’

Defence solicitor Ciaran McGuinness joked this may be the case ‘on Channel Five’.

The judge adjourned the case until December 10 and said he wanted a ‘full explanation as to precisely why it is taking five months to compare fingerprints - who does it, how do they do it and what is keeping them?’

Catterson was released on continuing bail.