Serious questions continue to be raised about the thoroughness and objectivity of the WA Rayney murder investigation where Supreme Court Registrar, Mrs Corryn Rayney, was murdered and dumped/buried in Kings Park in 2007. Police focused on her criminal barrister husband, Mr Lloyd Rayney. Despite a criminal trial, with judge alone, where Rayney was found Not Guilty and an appeal by the Crown, there has been no proof that Mr Rayney killed his wife. Now serious questions are being asked by highly respected lawyers, even the former Governor of WA, about whether significant persons of interest in the case, were overlooked (see my blog of 27 September 2014 and http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/cops-warned-sex-offender-allon-lacco-who-lived-near-corryn-rayney-was-high-risk-to-reoffend/story-fnhocxo3-1227087637851).
Yet another exposed Miscarriage of Justice in the US, where justice, even in the face of compelling evidence, has not prevailed fully. See this article from The Guardian from 9 October 2014 - http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/08/texas-releases-death-row-inmate-manuel-velez
I was doing more research on expert witnesses and evidence in Tasmania when I found this very helpful paper (undated) by Tasmanian barrister, Craig Hobbs, entitled "The Provision of Written Reports for Use in Legal Proceedings and Appearing in Court as an Expert Witness" which was deivered/provided to the Australian Psychological Society. See http://derwentandtamarchambers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Australian-Psychological-Society-Paper.pdf. Unlike a number of other jurisdictions in Australia, Tasmania does not have an Expert Code of Conduct (p.35). Also, whilst the Supreme Court Rules 2000 cover the issue of Expert Evidence (see Rule 515), such rules have no application to criminal litigation (p.32).
Participation on the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Awards Business Workshop - Alumni Panel Tonight at Henry Jones Art Hotel
Very honoured to be asked to participate in the Telstra Business Woman Alumni Panel tonight at the Henry Jones Art Hotel for Tasmanian Telstra Business Woman of the Year finalists, after having won Telstra Business Woman of the Year for WA in 2006. The big awards night is tomorrow night at the Hotel Grand Chancellor. Tonight I hope to give the finalists some advice on the actual awards event and the impact of winning such a prestigious award.
Just downloaded this 62 page 2012 article on wrongful convictions in Canada from the University of Cincinnati Law Review that promises to be most informative. Looking forward to hearing Professor Kent Roach speak at the Flinders University Miscarriages of Justice symposium next month in Adelaide. See article at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1887889
New Code of Professional Practice for Members of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS)
The ANZFSS Code of Ethics for members has now been replaced by a Code of Professional Practice. This was endorsed at the recent AGM at the ANZFSS biennial conference in Adelaide. See http://anzfss.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ANZFSS-Code-of-Professional-Practice-Final.pdf. The ANZFSS should be congratulated for developments in this area.
An excellent article from the UK Guardian dealing with the issue of forensic science experts and jurors. Thanks to Bill Rowlings from CLA for pointing out this article. See http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/oct/15/juries-blinded-science-lord-chief-justice-primers
I was very interested to find the details of this upcoming 20-23 July 2015 conference whilst searching the Internet on forensic science standards, including their implementation and enforcement (for the upcoming Miscarriage of Justice symposium hosted by Flinders University from 6-8 November 2014). The hosts of the 2015 forum include The University of Adelaide and the International Association of Evidence Law and Forensic Science. There is currently a call for abstracts for the 5th International Conference on Evidence Law and Forensic Science (ICELFS). I am thinking of using the Sue Neill-Fraser matter here in Tasmania as a relevant case study for the conference particularly in relation to the issue of presumptive testing and the reporting of such results. See http://law.adelaide.edu.au/icelfs/
One of the most notorious miscarriage of justice cases in Canada is that of Guy Paul Morin. In 1992 Guy Morin was convicted of the murder of nine year old Christine Jessop who had been abducted from Queensville, Ontario in 1984. It seems that the investigators thought him to be a little "odd" which caused them to focus upon him in the absence of other suspects.
The Full Court of the SA Supreme Court has been hearing the landmark further right to appeal case in the Henry Keogh matter for the last two weeks. Media coverage has, unfortunately, been limited. Attached is an article from The Advertiser from 24 September 2014 reporting on the expert evidence of Victorian senior forensic pathologist, Dr Matthew Lynch. His evidence indicated that Ms Cheney likely died accidentally after fainting and hitting her head on the bath she drowned in. Dr Lynch said a drop in blood pressure caused by standing up out of hot water could have caused a fainting episode, while an abnormal heart condition had also not been excluded as a cause. He pointed out that drowning was a "diagnosis of exclusion". He also said that there was no evidence to suggest bruising reported in an autopsy report on the left leg was actually bruising. Keogh's lawyers have claimed that allegations that Keogh drowned Ms Cheney in her bathtub by grabbing her legs and lifting them up over her head could not be supported by forensic evidence.