Anthony O’Doherty

Years in prison:
Year of crime:
Year conviction was overturned:

Anthony O’Doherty was convicted of aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The primary evidence linking O’Doherty to the crime involved voice recognition. This included evidence from a police officer of his recognition of the voice of a male caller to ambulance control as O’Doherty, a voice-identification expert who stated it was highly probable that O’Doherty was the caller to ambulance control, and comparisons made by the jury themselves between the tape of the call to ambulance control and the voice of the applicant giving evidence in court. Eivdence was also introduced suggesting a mobile telephone stolen by the burglars was used to call O’Doherty’s house shortly after the burglary. On appeal, fresh evidence was introduced that called into question the voice recognition evidence. For example, an expert in photonics testified that the identifications by police officers were highly problematic since auditory identification of speakers known to untrained listeners yields high error rates, and noted a very serious danger of inadvertent bias. The expert noted that his analysis showed clear and obvious differences in acoustic pattern and even auditory pattern between O’Doherty and the person who called the ambulance. He concluded that the evidence showed that O’Doherty’s voice was very incompatible with that of the caller. The court concluded that in view of the dificulties attending voice recognition in the case circumstances, a conviction based on this evidence could not be regarded as safe despite the suspicious phone calls. On that basis, the convictions were quashed.

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  • Offence: Manslaughter / non-fatal offence against the person Robbery / burglary
  • Jurisdiction: Northern Ireland
  • County: Unknown 
  • Ethnicity: Unknown
  • Gender: M
  • Years in prison: 4
  • Offence convicted of: Aggravated Burglary, GBH with intent
  • Year of crime: 1995
  • Year of initial conviction: 1997
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2002
  • Age when imprisoned: Unknown
  • CCRC Referral: Y
  • Tried with others: N
  • Link to full case:
  • Type of fresh evidence at appeal: Evidence undermining forensic science
  • Compensation: Unknown
  • Crown argued case at CofA: Unknown
  • Retrial: No
  • Previous appeals: Unsuccessful application for leave to appeal in 1998