Following on from my earlier blog posting this week, I attended the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) dinner meeting in Sydney on 17 May 2017. It was very well attended with approximately 80 attendees including forensic scientists, forensic pathologists, forensic psychiatrists, lawyers and academics. It was chaired by Professor James Robertson, who I have known for over 30 years. I first met James when he was fresh from Scotland and had taken up a role at the forensic science centre in Adelaide. I was working at the then National Police Research Unit in Adelaide on secondment from the NSW Police at that time on a national forensic resource register, in the aftermath of Chamberlain and the Morling Inquiry.
I found a very interesting article in the The Weekend Australian Magazine last weekend, 13-14 May 2017. It discusses a spate of insulin murders, reports of abuse and how this could be happening in our nursing homes. The article looks at the science of insulin as a murder weapon. One of the interesting things about insulin is that it disappears from the body. Insulin was used in crime fiction for many years and the article quotes a British biochemistry professor who states that it is still "the ideal murder weapon". I notice, however, that it is not mentioned in an Agatha Christie list of deadliest poisons - see https://yuuzhenkou.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/agatha-christies-book-of-poisons-part-one/
Wrongful Conviction and Forensic Pathology: Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Forum Sydney 17 May 2017
I have always had a strong interest in forensic pathology and post mortems since my time in the Coronial Investigaton Unit of the NSW Police in the 1980's. I will be attending the Australian Academy of Forensic Science's forum in Sydney tomorrow night, 17 May 2017, on Wrongful Conviction and Forensic Pathology by Dr Michael S Pollanen MD PhD, Chief Forensic Pathologist, Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.
Innocence Project client William Barnhouse has become the 350th DNA exoneree in the US. See https://www.innocenceproject.org/this-week-in-innocence-news-5-12-17/. Indiana prosecutors this week announced that they would dismiss rape charges against him. Barnhouse was released in March after 25 years in prison.
The latest statistics are out on DNA exonerations in the US. See https://www.innocenceproject.org/dna-exonerations-in-the-united-states/
On 10 May 2017 the WA Government announced a review into PathWest which will look back over 15 years. See https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2017/05/PathWest-review-will-look-back-15-years.aspx
James Robertson has written a very useful article/review in the most recent edition of the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences entitled "Managing the forensic examination of human hairs in contemporary forensic practice" Vol.49 No.3 2017 239-260.
The Changing Landscape of Forensic Science in Australia and New Zealand: Editorial in Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 2017
I was interested to read an Editorial by James Robertson (National Centre for Forensic Studies, University of Canberra) in the latest edition of the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Vol.49 No.3 2017 237-238 on the changing landscape of forensic science in Australia and New Zealand. It followed on from two previous editorials for Volume 49 by Linzi Wilson-Wilde and Adrian Linacre in their respective new roles as Director ANZPAA NIFS (Australian and New Zealand Advisory Agency National Institute of Forensic Sciences) and President of ANZFSS (Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society).
Currently reading Robin Bowles' latest book Into the Darkness: The Mysterious Death of Phoebe Handsjuk (Scribe Melbourne 2016). The book outlines the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of 24 year old Phoebe Handsjuk in Melbourne in December 2010. Phoebe was found at the bottom of a rubbish chute in luxury apartments in St Kilda Road, Melbourne, 12 floors below the apartment that she shared with her boyfriend. At the time of her death she had been heavily affected by alcohol and had taken the sleeping drug Stilnox.
An article by Eliza Laschon from the ABC yesterday, 27 April 2017, reports on a shocking miscarriage of justice where a man was wrongfully convicted of an offence over a decade ago after the PathWest laboratory wrongly matched his DNA and did not check the date of birth. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-27/man-wrongly-convicted-over-pathwest-dna-bungle-govt-wants-answer/8475888?pfmredir=sm