Return of Forensic Scientist!

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 …

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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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FBI admits flaws in forensic science evidence – how about NZ?

“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 …

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On vein patterns and dead pythons – outdoor body recovery course

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 …

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Our (training) grave was robbed!!

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 …

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ID by fingerprints: not fact but opinion

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 …

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Legal Aid costs and forensic science: the cost of justice?

NZ has spent NZ$1 billion dollars on Legal Aid in the last 12 years, since 2000.  So it is reported: The cost of justice: legal aid bill $1 billion . The five most expensive cases involved individuals found not guilty or whose cases were discharged. Based on my experience, it costs money to investigate a …

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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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Tearing knickers and why it needs to be done

Those leaders in science blogging and the founders of the the Ig Nobel Prize at improbable.com blogged last week about new research from Otago University with a blog entitled A new twist in forensic knicker-testing. It’s a brief (no pun actually intended) post that states an NZ study “tested the tearing of knickers, and found …

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International Justice Conference – lessons learned? Probably not yet but it’s a start

I arrive in Perth in 40 degree heat with a fierce wind whipping across the Hertz car park and the promise that it’ll be 45 by Sunday. I’m well and truly heated through by the time I get to my tiny hire car. I have no idea what is ahead of me for the next …

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