Curious case of the vanishing court file

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Many people think that, as an independent forensic scientist, my job is about science in the legal system. That would be true when I have my ‘specialist’ hat on such as when I’m doing blood or breath alcohol calculations, preparing a statement for Court or giving evidence. For the rest of my job, you’d be (read more)

Return of Forensic Scientist!

Monday, December 17th, 2012

I read with shame that my last post was mid August.  That means it’s been four months since I last wrote a post and therefore four months where I have felt a pang of guilt on a nearly daily basis about not having written something, particularly when there was something on which I had a (read more)

Alcohol interlocks are coming….

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I read today in my.lawsociety (NZ Law Society publication) that ordering the fitting of alcohol interlocks to vehicles owned by people convicted of drink driving is going to be an option available to the NZ courts as of 10 September this year.  An alcohol interlock operates in a similar manner to a breathalyser in that (read more)

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)

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