How scientists see each other

This was on Sciblogs earlier this week but it was also sent to us independently so is worth a re-showing.  Any scientists out there will, I think, be able to see some truth in this…..  

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Honesty in forensic science, Gary Bowering

When the science changes in such as way as to lower the validity of the original conclusion, should the forensic scientist be proactive in declaring this to impacted parties (as opposed to leaving it to defence lawyers to discover and act upon as they see fit)? Well, Gary Bowering, my take on it is that …

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Digging into some of the worst results of human behaviour – why?!

The second question about forensic science is answered: following on from forensic science: how it is, Kiwiski asked, “As fascinating as the science is I think I’d still want to know how someone dealt with digging into some of the worst results of human behavior and what motivated them to keep going?” The simple answer …

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Feelings about guilt or innocence of a defendent & “a-ha!”

This is part one of the answers to the competition set up by Grant Jacobs to win a copy of my recent book, Expert Witness. Katie Brockie was the distinguished winner and her questions and my answers are: Do you develop strong feelings about the guilt or innocence of a defendent in a trial in …

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Incendiary – “junk science” in fire investigation

The case of Cameron Todd Willingham has had a huge impact on the state of Texas. It should also be yet another case that justice systems around the world take a good, hard look at to make sure that such issues do not occur in their jurisdictions. Cameron Todd Willingham was accused of setting a …

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Blood all over the place….

I have just read Grant’s blog post comment about blood pattern work that has been completed recently regarding the distribution of blood patterns at a scene and how they can (or can’t in many instances) be interpreted. The new work could help with interpretations in cases where it hadn’t been possible previously. The problem with …

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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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Talking the “CSI effect”

Whilst filming an episode of Media 7 on Wednesday about the CSI effect, I was struck (not physically) by two things: 1. people genuinely seem interested in the CSI effect; 2. everyone has a different take on what it is and how they see it in the programmes they watch. It was interesting to hear …

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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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Pollen and ‘Bones’

I’m watching Bones.  It’s a new series (in New Zealand anyway) and it’s the episode where they use pollen vacuumed out of the nasal cavitiy of a decomposed corpse to determine the exact date of death.  Can I just say that, as a forensic pollen expert, it’s utter nonsense. The concept is sound – it’s …

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