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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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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A (selection of) day(s) in the life of a forensic scientist

Lots of people ask me what it’s like on a day-to-day basis being a forensic scientist. If they catch me on a day when it’s been nothing but paperwork then they don’t get a very inspired answer. However, the past week has shown me once again how varied it can be. Take last week for …

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More questions for a forensic scientist to answer….

Carrying on again from Grant’s post: HappyEvilSlosh asked: I’ve heard that in forensics often the scientist knows the details of the case and what side of case they are finding evidence for. Is this actually the case and if so don’t you think it would be better, in terms of determining the facts instead of …

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Putting a price on the justice system

I have already mentioned that many other forensic scientists around the world think that the British government’s decision to close the Forensic Science Service (FSS) was poor – not least because of the loss of knowledge from senior scientists and the lack of them having the time to transfer that knowledge to younger scientists because …

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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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The CSI Effect in New Zealand: what is it?

I have been asked to provide comment on the CSI effect in New Zealand. The request came from a Forensic Science student and so I started to pen (type) my reply. However, it got the better of me and so I thought I’d just add it as a blog post as well. My opinion of …

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Scientific grammer [sic]

I loathe mispellings and bad grammar.  Many scientific papers have excellent scientific results and interpretations to report but if someone puts a preposition at the end of a sentence, my estimation of them lowers just a tiny fraction.  I know I am also guilty of it but I try to minimise the problem. People have …

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Criminal law and the Rugby World Cup

I was at court last Wednesday to check on the progress of a trial regarding an alleged rape.  The evidence and those giving it was interesting, and that was why I was there (that’s another story altogether). What was more interesting was the fact that the judge and the barristers were working out how long …

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“Police armed with keyboards can be as effective as those with truncheons” – discuss

Regardless of what people think about Big Brother and the nanny state, there’s no denying that in a country fed up with troublemakers, England has used the myriad of CCTV cameras to deal to rioters.  The Breat British Public have, of course, added their own version of looters by photoshopping them: PhotoShop Looters.   These are …

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