Conflicting expert opinion (is it what it seems?)

“Having introduced their written evidence with the protestation that they will be independent and unbiased, experts routinely go on to give evidence that is anything but. At least in the eyes of experts regularly giving evidence, the boilerplate declaration of impartiality has as much impact as…..the staple at the top of the page.” And so …

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Tea, Biscuits and the Criminal Reform Bill

The Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill is being touted as the biggest shake-up in New Zealand criminal law for decades (e.g. Justice shake-up will save millions: Govt).  This means the last lot of changes took place in a time before I was born (I don’t know if that makes me feel old or not).  …

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Mouth alcohol

Can dentures make a breath reading higher than it should be? In short, yes. It’s a query I had last week from a solicitor and it’s one I’ve had several times over the years. Alcohol can become lodged under the plate of dentures and remain there as a ‘reservoir’, with alcohol fumes evaporating into the …

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Auckland District Court: a re-vamped winner

It’s been a while since I visited Auckland District Court. The desire to visit has not been strong because it was a dark and dingy place with a grubby, neglected feel to it. So, having briefly attended to meet a colleague in relation to an arson matter at the end of last week, I now …

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Crash investigators, road safety. And eggs.

Crash test eggs. Not sure this would be accepted as a suitable reconstruction in court though.

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Christmas and Forensic Science

Well, the Crown and the courts are winding down for their annual extended break. However, forensic scientists in the independent sector don’t take a holiday! This is the perfect time of year for lawyers to start preparing well in advance for next year’s trials, particularly given the long time that NZ Legal Services is taking …

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Blood alcohol 2nd sample – will it be lost?

Feeling suitably impressed with the facade, I attended at the Beehive yesterday to speak in front of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.  Apart from seeing a few familiar faces (from the TV, not that I knew in person), it was quite reminiscent of giving evidence in court except that after our statements, it …

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Taser fuss

NZ Police have recently issued a press release to assure the population that there is nothing wrong with the tasers they are using and that a few unsuccessful discharges are to be expected. In fact, the taser trial involved a 12.5% failure rate (2/16) compared with a 13.3% failure rate in the field (4/30) – …

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SciCon 2010 – well worth it….

I have just returned on a bumpy flight from Nelson following my stint at SciCon 2010, the the biennial conference of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators (NZASE). The theme of SciCon 2010 is ‘Journey to Discovery’ and there are plenty of interesting speakers and workshops (it runs until this Wednesday, 7 July). Having …

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SciCon 2010 – well worth it

I have just returned on a bumpy flight from Nelson following my stint at SciCon 2010, the the biennial conference of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators (NZASE). The theme of SciCon 2010 is ‘Journey to Discovery’ and there are plenty of interesting speakers and workshops (it runs until this Wednesday, 7 July). Having …

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