Prosecuting sexual assault cases – new approach?

When Judith Collins was Minister for Justice she suspended Law Commission work on alternative models for prosecuting criminal cases.   The Law Commission had originally been asked to consider alternative models by the earlier Justice Minister, Simon Power.  A paper was released in February 2012 entitled “Alternative Pre-trial and Trial Processes: Possible Reforms” – so a …

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Don’t forget: breath alcohol levels continue to rise after you stop drinking!

I have just been watching Campbell Live where the presenters had a two-hour lunch with alcoholic drinks and then tested themselves with a breath alcohol screening device to see how they felt to drive compared with what alcohol they had actually consumed.  This is all as a result of the government’s (good, in my opinion) …

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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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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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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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Alcohol interlocks are coming….

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 …

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HOW much was outstanding in Legal Aid??

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 …

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Forensic science 360 degree crime scene mapping

Revolutionising crime scene investigation seems to be the net result of the 360-degree crime scene mapping developed and used by ESR Forensic, as seen on TV: TV3 News. I’ve seen this technology at work and it does seem to do a great job of recording the scene. As with all new technologies though we need …

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Emotion and personality in science

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, …

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