International Justice Conference: let’s see how it goes….

Many people will have watched 60 Minutes’ interview with David Bain on Sunday.  This weekend he gives his first public presentation at The International Justice Conference and I will be there to hear it and all the others. Mr Bain will be amongst other people who have stories to tell about cases that have gone …

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Sexual assault prosecution: where’s the science fit in?

The NZ Law Commission this week has opened consultation on Alternative Trial Processes including potential changes in the way sexual assault cases are prosecuted. In the introduction to the consultation paper it states: The limitations of the adversarial system in general are particularly profound in cases of sexual violence. The adversarial trial model is ill-suited …

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Dead man sued because his flying body parts hit a passer-by..and other stories (only in the USA)

No matter what is happening in the NZ legal system, we don’t have the same sorts of issues as the Americans seem to have.  This is from FindLaw. 5. Tourist Sues Hooker for Leaving ½ Hour Early College student Hubert Blackman was in Las Vegas. He decided to party it up by ordering a “stripper” …

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New drug driving campaign

After my spectacular unavailability to be able to appear on TV today about the new drug driving campaign, I thought I would add my general comments here. There is no doubt that drug driving is a problem in New Zealand, as it is in other countries. Alcohol is treated differently under the law because it …

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Body on the Queen’s estate – actors comment on forensic science

I have to admit to having been so desperate for something to watch on TV a couple of nights ago that I ended up watching Entertainment Tonight – you know, that American gossip programme about famous people, many of whom I have never heard or seen before (I accept that I am out of touch …

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The effect of the Foo Fighters on the human body and seismic activity

How does a rock concert affect the human body and how much seismic activity does such a concert produce? Not technically forensic science this one but interesting nonetheless for those of the population who attend rock gigs and are interested in seismology and medical issues. In terms of seismic activity, the answer is that a …

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Death. Destruction. Science. It’s a winner!

I am feeling very proud of myself because I have apparently just won ScienceTeller 2011’s Best Science Story Competition! I am very excited. I have never won anything before. Entry was open to submissions with a science, wildlife, natural history, health, travel or culture focus, the entries must have been completed on or after 1 …

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Challenging forensic science independence

Probably one of the worst decisions made by the British government was to shut down the Forensic Science Service (FSS) – in my opinion. Not only has a raft of experience been lost, a world-leading research organisation has been shut down. This is not news. What is news is that the Metropolitan Police is now …

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Why it pays to check the work of the prosecution: the freeing of Amanda Knox

In one of the world’s most high-profile cases, Amanda Knox was today acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. I don’t have personal knowledge of the case but if the media reports are to be believed, inappropriate collection techniques and poor laboratory standards were contributory to the DNA results being deemed unreliable.  An extract from …

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Is there room for emotion in science?

Last night, I looked at Auckland city from a new perspective: the top floor of Auckland Museum.  Fantastic views of the 360-degree variety.  Aside from that, I was there for the Auckland SCANZ panel discussion. All the speakers were excellent but, being a geologist by training (and secretly still am, in my head), I was …

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