Mt Tongariro: the aliens are invading

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

It’s volcano time again here in New Zealand: with the eruption of the andesitic Mt Tongariro in the central North Island. As a geologist (and tephrostratigrapher in times gone past) it’s exciting, but there’s always a small point (for me) that detracts from the media reporting: the plethora of ‘vulcanologists’. It would be great if (read more)

FBI admits flaws in forensic science evidence – how about NZ?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

“The [US] Justice Department and the FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence” So reads the Washington Post on July 11. The article indicates the problems with fibre and hair evidence, which are notoriously (read more)

NetHui and ‘trolls’

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I am such an unintentional luddite.  I turned up at a conference about the internet (NetHui) and started adding things to my To Do list by using a piece of paper and a pencil, being surrounded by so many ipads, netbooks, iphones, androids and other technical gadgets that make me feel old that the air (read more)

On vein patterns and dead pythons – outdoor body recovery course

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The Outdoor Body Recovery Course was fun.  It’s a difficult thing to say to people because how can it be fun collecting samples from unfortunate individuals who have died and whose remains are found outdoors?  It’s one of those uncomfortable  definitions of ‘fun’ that would probably be more appropriately labelled ‘rewarding’ or ‘fulfilling’.  However, on (read more)

Our (training) grave was robbed!!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Well, maybe, anyway.  I spent a couple of days last week in a field in Oxfordshire, England, training specialist police officers/crime scene examiners how to collect samples for soil and pollen analysis from outdoor body locations as part of criminal investigations.  My ‘crime scene’ was under a tree and involved the use of a mannequin (read more)

HOW much was outstanding in Legal Aid??

Friday, June 8th, 2012

I read in Law Points (NZ Law Society) that Charles Chauvel asked Justice Minister Judith Collins for information on the number and value of invoices for Legal Aid payments that were awaiting payment at 30 March 2012.  This is from the Law Points article: She said invoices totalling the following for work undertaken in each (read more)

ID by fingerprints: not fact but opinion

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Many people in New Zealand still seem unaware of the substantial shake-up going on in forensic science globally. Alot of it has come from the USA National Academy of Science’s review on forensic science. Some has come from the UK Law Commission’s review of forensic science practices. One of the many areas of interest is (read more)

Legal Aid costs and forensic science: the cost of justice?

Friday, May 4th, 2012

NZ has spent NZ$1 billion dollars on Legal Aid in the last 12 years, since 2000.  So it is reported: The cost of justice: legal aid bill $1 billion . The five most expensive cases involved individuals found not guilty or whose cases were discharged. Based on my experience, it costs money to investigate a (read more)

ABC. Assume nothing. Believe nobody. Check everything.

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

ABC. Assume nothing. Believe nobody. Check everything.  This is the mantra of British crime scene manager John Cockram.  That is a truly excellent mantra and pretty much covers all you need to know about forensic science.  His commentary on crime scene examination is fabulous reading in The Guardian’s The real CSI: what happens at a (read more)

Forensic science 360 degree crime scene mapping

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Revolutionising crime scene investigation seems to be the net result of the 360-degree crime scene mapping developed and used by ESR Forensic, as seen on TV: TV3 News. I’ve seen this technology at work and it does seem to do a great job of recording the scene. As with all new technologies though we need (read more)

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