More questions for a forensic scientist to answer….

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Carrying on again from Grant’s post: HappyEvilSlosh asked: I’ve heard that in forensics often the scientist knows the details of the case and what side of case they are finding evidence for. Is this actually the case and if so don’t you think it would be better, in terms of determining the facts instead of (read more)

Putting a price on the justice system

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

I have already mentioned that many other forensic scientists around the world think that the British government’s decision to close the Forensic Science Service (FSS) was poor – not least because of the loss of knowledge from senior scientists and the lack of them having the time to transfer that knowledge to younger scientists because (read more)

Challenging forensic science independence

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Probably one of the worst decisions made by the British government was to shut down the Forensic Science Service (FSS) – in my opinion. Not only has a raft of experience been lost, a world-leading research organisation has been shut down. This is not news. What is news is that the Metropolitan Police is now (read more)

Emotion and personality in science

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Following from an earlier post of mine Is there room for emotion in science, Victoria University is running its very first Tell Us A Story event. The website tells us that: This is not an ordinary science presentation event! The aim of this challenge is to woo the audience with stories of inspiration, passion, heart-ache, struggle, (read more)

Why it pays to check the work of the prosecution: the freeing of Amanda Knox

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

In one of the world’s most high-profile cases, Amanda Knox was today acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. I don’t have personal knowledge of the case but if the media reports are to be believed, inappropriate collection techniques and poor laboratory standards were contributory to the DNA results being deemed unreliable.  An extract from (read more)

Unanswered questions for Brent and David Tong

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

I apologise – I have neglected to answer questions about my book, Expert Witness, which was recently given away by Sciblogs and that Grant Jacobs reviewed.  Some more questions are as follows: Does forensic science only refer to science used for court cases, or are there other forms of investigation to which it pertains? Brent (read more)

Is there room for emotion in science?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Last night, I looked at Auckland city from a new perspective: the top floor of Auckland Museum.  Fantastic views of the 360-degree variety.  Aside from that, I was there for the Auckland SCANZ panel discussion. All the speakers were excellent but, being a geologist by training (and secretly still am, in my head), I was (read more)

The CSI Effect in New Zealand: what is it?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I have been asked to provide comment on the CSI effect in New Zealand. The request came from a Forensic Science student and so I started to pen (type) my reply. However, it got the better of me and so I thought I’d just add it as a blog post as well. My opinion of (read more)

Scientific grammer [sic]

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

I loathe mispellings and bad grammar.  Many scientific papers have excellent scientific results and interpretations to report but if someone puts a preposition at the end of a sentence, my estimation of them lowers just a tiny fraction.  I know I am also guilty of it but I try to minimise the problem. People have (read more)

Criminal law and the Rugby World Cup

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

I was at court last Wednesday to check on the progress of a trial regarding an alleged rape.  The evidence and those giving it was interesting, and that was why I was there (that’s another story altogether). What was more interesting was the fact that the judge and the barristers were working out how long (read more)

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