in The Changing Paradigm Forensic by Dr David Klatzow Science
Justicia (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 www.forejustice.org
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
Strengthening 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.
Hair • Gaudette : 1 in 4 500 • Local less features : 1 in 4 500
Fires 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.