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in. The Changing Paradigm. Forensic. by Dr David Klatzow. Science. Justicia (aka “Lady Justice”). Janós Blaschke,  The Goddess Themis , 1786. Is this what we h ave become?. “The surest way

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The changing paradigm


The Changing Paradigm


by Dr David Klatzow



(aka “Lady Justice”)

Janós Blaschke, The Goddess Themis, 1786

Is this what we

have become?

“The surest way

to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to holdin higher ESTEEMthose who think alikethan those who think differently.”

  • FriederichNietzche

What is an Expert?

See Davie v Edinburgh Magistrates, 1953

SC 34 of 40 quoted in Phipson on Evidence

13th Edition at 574

What is an Expert?

Also Maritime & General Insurance Company v

Sky Unit Engineering

1989 (1) SA 867

The Mayfield Print

Agent Massey:

  • “I’ll preach fingerprints till I die.

  • They are infallible.”

Chicago Tribune, 17 Oct 2004

The Birmingham 6

and the Maguires

  • Frank Skuze

  • The Griess Test

  • Police Confessions?

Bullet Identification

  • Bullet Lead ID

  • Striations

    Up to 25% of matching striations

    can be by chance alone


Forensic Science

Forensic Science

is vulnerable to

contextual and

confirmational bias

I Dror et al Forensic Science International,

2006, 156: 74,77

Forensic Science is hindered by:

  • Multiple levels of educational requirements\

  • Different professional cultures within the field

  • Reliance on apprentice-type training and a guild-like structure of each discipline

Strengthening Forensic Science, pg 87

Research by Dror

et al has shown that:

…experienced fingerprint examiners

do not necessarily agree with their

own past conclusions when the

examination is presented later in a

different context.

Shoe Prints and

Tyre Tracks…

…are largely subjective.

National Academies Report Ballistic Imaging:

…observed that validity of fundamental assumptions of uniqueness and reproducibility has not yet been fully demonstrated.


  • Gaudette : 1 in 4 500

  • Local less features : 1 in 4 500


Many of the rules of thumb used to indicate

accelerant are simply not true.

The Statistics:

MJ Saks & JJ Koehler

What’s To Be Done?

  • Forensic science should not function in a police and prosecutorial environment

  • State and defence experts should meet to draft a joint expert minute prior to a trial

  • Slugging it out in court should be a thing of the past

  • There is a need for proper academic training of forensic scientists

  • A research culture needs to be fostered.