With my Pharmacy background, I have always taken a keen interest in toxicology issues in crime and poisoning cases. I have written previous blogs, for instance, on a new book (A is for Arsenic) which examines the use of various poisons in Agatha Christie's novels. See http://www.betterconsult.com.au/blog/a-is-for-arsenic-agatha-christie-and-her-poisoning-deaths/
Following on from my blog yesterday (15 April 2016), I found a very helpful article on the Motherisk scandal in Canada here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/motherisk-experts-forensic-testimony-1.3433881. The article has a range of hyperlinks to various useful articles and a link to the Motherisk report.
An article in yesterday's Canberra Times reports that David Eastman has lost his bid to have his re-trial for the alleged shooting murder of AFP Assistant Commissioner, Colin Winchester, stayed. See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/eastman-loses-bid-to-prevent-retrial-for-alleged-murder-of-colin-winchester-20160413-go5v9f.html
According to the Magistrate's Court website, Coroner Simon Cooper is scheduled to hand down his findings into the Lucille Butterworth inquest at midday on 2 May 2016 at the Hobart Magistrate's Court.
Last night I attended an Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) event at Victoria University in Melbourne. The presenter was Professor Olaf Drummer, a highly respected pharmacologist and toxicologist from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (see https://www.monash.edu/research/people/profiles/profile.html?sid=1004&pid=2854), who spoke on The Motherisk Review: Outcomes of a Review of a Canadian Laboratory that Led to Miscarriages of Justice.
Today's Mercury 9 April 2016 reports that the acting CEO of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission, Mr Michael Easton, has sounded the alarm on conflict of interest saying that it was "driving" misconduct in the public service. In a rare media statement, he said that the issue was eroding public trust in government. He added that it was one of the most common risk factors for misconduct and a real concern for the Tasmanian community. He stated that there was a common misconception that because Tasmania was small, it was an issue impossible or unnecessary to avoid. He stated "In our experience, the opposite is true: the smaller the community, either at state or regional levels, the better the management of conflict of interest must be". See http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/integrity-commission-raises-the-alarm-at-conflict-of-interest/news-story/dc47dfe0fc62214c3cc61af5bc628a0d
It is reported on page 2 of today's The Australian that lawyers in WA will today launch a landmark appeal that could recognise Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as a mitigating factor for a convicted killer. The appellant, a teenager, was jailed for fatally bashing his 4 week old baby son. The teen received a FASD diagnosis after he was sentenced last year to 10 years' detention. He was aged 15 at the time and was a ward of the State known to have anger-management problems. Prosecutors said he twice slammed the baby's head against the floor or a doorframe. It is believed that the boy's initial FASD diagnosis was made by researchers studying the prevalence of the disorder in detainees at WA's juvenile detention centre.
Last night the ABC's The Weekly with Charlie Pickering covered the issue of miscarriages of justice or wrongful convictions, particularly in the wake of the hugely successful US doco Making a Murderer. Whilst relying on comedy for effect, the show raised some key issues of concern for Australia and reflected on the cases of Andrew Mallard in WA and Henry Keogh in SA. Dr Bob Moles, of Networked Knowledge, commented on key aspects.
Congratulations to the Tasmanian Women Lawyers (TWL) on a very successful "Meet the Judiciary" cocktail event held last night at the Despard Gallery in Salamanca. The event was attended by over 60 lawyers and there was a very good representation of Supreme Court and Federal Court Judges as well as Magistrates (both male and female). President Amanda Chrysler capably profiled each of the judiciary in attendance including their disclosed personal interests. Such events clearly highlight the advantages of a small jurisdiction and the unique networking opportunities availble to members of the legal profession in this State. It was very generous of our Judges and Magistrates to give up their prized personal time.
The ABC program The Weekly with Charlie Pickering will be running a segment this evening, Wednesday 6 April 2016, at 8.30pm on the Henry Keogh case in South Australia.