Legal Aid reform

As in New Zealand, the English have just undertaken a review of the Legal Aid system.  Of particular note for Expert Witnesses in NZ and England is the final paragraph of the summary below, which states : “…the Legal Services Commission will be asked to consider changes to payments made to experts in both criminal …

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English Law Society promotes pro bono work

This is a late-August press release from the English Law Society.  I can see the logic to it – time will tell whether it works and, indeed, whether it is welcomed by the legal fraternity. Law Society extols marketing benefits for law firms giving free legal services A commitment to free legal advice could be …

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Germs….

Although this isn’t related to forensic science, it is, nonetheless, interesting.  It’s written by Ed Maden who is listed as a forensic, fire, flood, mold inspection & remediation/restoration contractor. He writes that he was recently asked about which area of a house is the dirtiest or collects the most dirt.  A precis of his answer …

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US execution: not arson

This is a news item that has popped up many times over the past few days.  If the reporting is accurate then it is a classic example of how things can go wrong in a scientific investigation. “Faulty fire investigation led to execution Associated Press A fire investigation that led to the execution of a …

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Another comment on court attendance….

Having thought about my earlier post regarding court attendance, I now remember an interesting exchange with a senior judge at a conference once, which might explain why Legal Services is looking in the wrong place for savings in the UK court system.  The exchange went something like this: Judge:  There is a real need to …

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The fun of attending court….

I see from the UK press that the UK government is looking to cap Legal Services funding for expert witnesses by allowing a maximum monetary limit per day for attendance at court plus a maximum hourly rate for different forensic disciplines for report preparation and the like.  It seems to me that the general effect …

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Freckle analysis: pattern matching at its freshest

I found this article (www.sew.org.uk) but it has no date on it or author.  It’s an interesting application of pattern matching.  As a Defence Expert I would be bound to ask about the validity of the interpretation – what is the database of freckle patterns?  However, logically it seems that if the pattern matches there’s …

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David Bain retrial, 2009

I get asked about this case all the time.  It was probably New Zealand’s biggest ever case in terms of media attention (more like frenzy) and overall cost.  It is also probably New Zealand’s most controversial case and people have an opinion before they even ask me about it.  It’s a bit like when a …

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Drug traces on banknotes: Scotland

During my time in England I had the pleasure of being involved with many cases involving drug traces on banknotes.  For those of you in countries with plastic money (such as NZ or Australia), those who live in countries with paper money have the joy of carrying around with them banknotes of which practically all …

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Fabrication of DNA evience: revisited

I have been keeping an eye on media reports about the issue of fabrication of DNA evidence and everyone seems to be very excited about it, particularly how it will bring forensic science crashing to the ground and CSI ratings will plummet. However, if one thinks about it, fabrication of any evidence type is not …

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