How not to apply for a job/research position/other future career role

We receive a regular flow of email requests from science students around the world enquiring about how they can become forensic scientists.  That’s all good – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. What irritates me immensely is the clearly haphazard and unthinking approach that is so immensely common throughout those from people who are …

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A Criminal Cases Review Commission for NZ?

On the back of the Lundy case, there has been some discussion in the last week about whether or not New Zealand should consider having an independent organisation to assess potential miscarriages of justice, similar to the English Criminal Cases Review Commission. It’s not the first time the suggestion has been mooted: several other high-profile …

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Filming a real murder accused’s conviction

A brief post this one about a British Channel 4 production that recorded a 6 week murder trial and its outcome: “The dramatic moment in which a man is convicted of arranging the murder of his wife and then disposing of her body will be broadcast on television next week. … A documentary crew working …

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Robin Bain finger marks

Many people may have seen 3rd Degree on Wednesday night about the marks on Robin Bain’s thumb and forefinger as recorded in two crime scene photographs. Earlier this year I spent a morning with Police and ESR staff and some of the defence team during the testing of the murder weapon by Robbie Tiffen and …

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Are all drownings accidental? Are too many fires arson?

What if not all drownings are accidental?  An ABC article asks this question and raises some interesting points about how investigators deal with bodies found on land and those found in water. “Bodies found in water are treated very differently from bodies found on land, for example there is not a county in this country …

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Teina Pora case: funding case re-investigations

You may or may not have seen 3rd Degree’s programme last night about the case of Teina Pora, a south Auckland boy imprisoned in 1994 for rape and murder, the former that DNA testing shows he did not commit and, after a retrial in 2000, for murder based on confessions. There has been comment about …

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Standards and Codes for forensic scientists

A short blog post, this one.  The US Department of Justice is setting up a commission that will establish standards, a professional code and educational requirements for forensic scientists.  Presumably this would mean that a Bachelors degree in forensic science and European film won’t make the muster (a degree which has apparently been offered in …

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Graham Norton solves a problem (nearly)

Recently I have been looking for a specialist medical expert to review a criminal case in which we have been instructed.  Specifically, an independent dermatologist (preferably someone with a paediatric speciality). Actually, I’ve been looking for five months.  Five months!  Usually we do it in 5 days, at the outside!!  In fact, much as I …

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Clarification: launching a charity this year

An article in the paper at the weekend indicated that I am launching a charity this year.  Just to clarify, this is not exactly the case.  What I have discussed with some senior academics and criminal legal system colleagues is possibly establishing an organisation that may consider, amongst other legal issues, potential miscarriage of justice …

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Zero drugs; plenty of alcohol

It’s always struck me as a bit odd, the disparity between the NZ drug driving law and the drink driving law. My non-lawyer’s view is that drug driving law stipulates that a person is guilty of the office if their blood contains evidence of a qualifying drug.  This means that if even a small amount …

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