Guilty until proven innocent

“A lack of accreditation of expert witnesses means that anyone with a scientific background and sufficient ‘brass neck’ could set themselves up as a forensic science expert and mislead the court“. So warns Lord Justice Leveson, an English Court of Appeal Judge. It has already happened: Gene Morrison. Originally jailed for 5 years various offences …

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Drugs, driving and saliva

After a brief airing on RadioLive this morning to talk about a recent press release regarding drug/drink driving statistics, I thought it pertinent to add a little something to clarify what I was saying (three minutes is not a long time to say what you need to say on an issue as big as this!). …

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To reduce or not reduce – that is the blood alcohol question

Several posts have got involved in the blood alcohol debate (examples being Blood alcohol, Categories of drunk and Wobbling into the road after a night at the pub….). Should NZ reduce the blood alcohol limit for driving a motor vehicle from 80 mg alc/100 ml blood to 50? The UK still has 80 in blood …

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Wobbling into the road after a night at the pub….

Once again, alcohol-related stories are all over the media (Drunk driver haunted by night of shame; Joyce to review drink-driving loophole; ‘Humiliated’ barrister to plead guilty to drink-driving; Car death: ‘Any other kid, you’d be in jail’).  All of these cases, and most of the alcohol-related cases that are reported in the media, contain stories …

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Momentarily alarmed…

Is it scary giving evidence in court?  Yes, when you notice a knife lying on a chair in the main foyer of the court. I was in a south Auckland court today and to start with, the day didn’t seem anything unusual.  Whilst waiting around for the case to start, I glanced to my left …

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How we behave when we're drunk

Talking about lowering the blood alcohol limit in New Zealand to 50 milligrams alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood is today’s big story. I’ve been asked by lots of people over the years about how much alcohol drivers have to consume in order to be over the legal limit. Quite rightly, the ESR scientists indicated …

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Drinking, driving and Maltese(rs)

Lowering the NZ drink drive limit to 50 milligrams alcohol/100 ml blood is big news this week. Will the government do it? Is that low enough? Should we do as the Maltese do (according to Google anyway) and have a zero blood alcohol level for driving? I’ve written reports for a couple of thousand drink …

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Judge a crime online

Here’s your chance to judge a real case and decide a sentence. The UK Ministry of Justice has just issued a press release announcing a website that allows the general public to hear the circumstances of a criminal case after a person has been found guilty at a trial and then listen to the information …

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Hair, science and crims

Analysing hair for criminal casework purposes has had some new developments recently, as reported in Forensic Science International. For your delectation and delight, and as the journal has a log in, I have decided to share some of the papers that deal with day-to-day issues to which we can all relate: In Sweden, if someone …

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Veneer to the rescue!

There’s a man in China who’s very glad about varnish and veneer. Despite his fingerprints being found at the scene of a theft, he was discharged by the judge who was presiding over his trial for said theft (Driver nearly convicted for incidental fingerprints). The reason was because the fingerprints were beneath a veneer on …

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