A History of Forensic Toxicology: The Marsh Test for Arsenic

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 2 June 2017 | 0 Comments

A colleague recently referred this fascinating article to me which outlines the history of the scientific detection of arsenic in dead bodies. See here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/marsh-test-arsenic-poisoning. I have a particular interest in poisons and forensic toxicology given my Pharmacy degree.

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Pathology Not up to Scratch in Tasmania? - The Need for Accreditation

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 2 June 2017 | 0 Comments

I refer you to my blog of recent days in relation to major shortcomings in forensic pathology in Canada and a likely move to mandatory accreditation. See here: http://www.betterconsult.com.au/blog/motherisk-scandal-in-canada-prompts-review-of-ontario-s-forensic-laboratories/

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Lifting the Veil on DNA Evidence: Griffith University Law School and Innocence Project

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 1 June 2017 | 0 Comments

Was pleased to receive an invitation to the upcoming "Lifting the Veil on DNA Evidence" forum to be held by the Griffith University Law School and Innocence Project in Queensland on Friday 30 June 2017. The session will examine DNA evidence and what the statistics actually mean. The panel will be chaired by Mr Peter Gleeson, Editor, Sunday Mail and includes the Hon. Justice Debra Mullins from the Supreme Court of Queensland, Mr Saul Holt QC, Dr Brian McDonald (Director, DNA Consults, NSW) and Ms Kirsty Wright (Griffith University School of Natural Sciences).

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Motherisk Scandal in Canada Prompts Review of Ontario's Forensic Laboratories

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 31 May 2017 | 1 Comments

Received notification regarding this article from the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (Victorian chapter). It is being reported that the 2014 Motherisk scandal in Canada may bring about mandatory accreditation for Ontario forsensic laboratories. See https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/05/30/motherisk-scandal-prompts-review-of-ontarios-forensic-labs.html

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NSW Coroner Hands Down Findings in Lindt Cafe Siege May 2017

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 26 May 2017 | 0 Comments

This week saw the handing down by NSW Coroner Michael Barnes of the findings, a 600 page report, into the 2014 Sydney Lindt cafe siege, which saw two of the hostages tragically killed. See http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/live-coroner-hands-down-findings-into-sydney-lindt-cafe-siege-20170523-gwbpxy.html

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David Eastman's Second Trial over Colin Winchester's Murder Pushed Back Months

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 26 May 2017 | 0 Comments

An article in The Canberra Times dated 24 May 2017 by Megan Gorrey states that the planned "mammoth" trial of David Eastman for the shooting death of former Canberra police chief Colin Winchester has been pushed back and will not start now until 2018. See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/david-eastmans-second-trial-over-colin-winchester-murder-pushed-back-months-20170523-gwb1er

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Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Forum in Sydney 17 May 2017

Posted by on 18 May 2017 | 0 Comments

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.

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The Insulin Murders: When Carers Kill - Article in The Weekend Australian 13-14 May 2017

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 15 May 2017 | 0 Comments

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/

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Wrongful Conviction and Forensic Pathology: Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Forum Sydney 17 May 2017

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 15 May 2017 | 0 Comments

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.

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Indiana Man Becomes 350th DNA exoneree

Posted by Barbara Etter APM on 12 May 2017 | 0 Comments

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.

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