Viewing entries posted in October 2014
Editorial from the latest Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences - Warning Signs and a Possible Royal Commission?
I was very interested to read the editorial by Professor James Robertson in the latest edition of the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Vol.46 No.4 365-367. See http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00450618.2014.937457#.VFKJ4p24bcc. The article is headed "Push for Royal Commission into Forensic Procedures".
Last night I attended the Tasmanian chapter meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) here in Hobart. The meeting was very well attended by members who included police, lawyers, academics and FSST personnel. The purpose of the meeting was to get briefings from the scholarship recipients who were supported to attend and present (either orally or by way of poster submission) at the biennial ANZFSS symposium held last month in Adelaide.
I just read a very well-researched article on the "Science" of Miscarriages of Justice by Professor Gary Edmond of the University of NSW which appeared just recently in Volume 37 of the UNSW Law Journal (37(1) pp.376-406). See http://www.unswlawjournal.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/edmond_371.pdf. I was reading the article as part of my research on the implementation and enforcement of standards in forensic science - the theme of next week's Flinders University Miscarriages of Justice symposium being held in Adelaide next week.
The Criminal Lawyers Association of the NT (CLANT) conference will be held in Sanur, Bali from 20 to 26 June 2015. See http://www.clant.org.au/. The theme will be "Curing Injustice". This event has been going for many years now and attracts criminal lawyers, prosecutors, Coroners and judges from all over Australia. I attended in 2013 and was very impressed with the program, quality of the speakers and networking opportunities. I had 11 years in the NT and 16 years with the NT Police (the last 5 years were on secondment to Adelaide as the Director of the then Australasian Centre for Policing Research 1999-2004). It was wonderful to catch up with past colleagues and friends.
Apologies for the lack of blogs in the last couple of days. Have had technical issues which are now hopefully resolved.
Another fascinating cold case story from The Canberra Times dated 18 October 2014. See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/cold-case-womans-body-lay-in-lake-burley-griffin-for-14-years-20141018-10rhrn.html. As the article states, it seems incomprehensible that a woman's body could lie undisovered at the bottom of Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin for more than a decade. The woman was found in 1989 still strapped into the seat of her car. The 25 year old had been reported missing in December 1976. Unfortunately, no one has ever been charged over her disappearance or death.
An article from the Canberra Times dated 17 October 2014 outlines the exoneration of David McCallum after 29 long years in prison. See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/world/new-york-man-david-mccallum-cleared-of-kidnap-and-murder-after-29-years-in-prison-20141017-117d25.html. It appears that McCallum was led into making a false confession by police (a bit like the Beamish case in WA). An inquiry into the case was commenced in January 2014 after a deathbed letter from the famous Rubin "Hurricane" Carter to the Brooklyn DA, Kenneth Thompson. At court, an Assistant DA told the Judge that the convictions (there was an alleged co-offender) had been tainted by false testimony and the confessions were "the product of improper suggestion, improper inducement and perhaps coercion". The two prosecutions had been marked by notable inconsistencies in what was said to have occurred.
Excellent Paper by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales on Expert Evidence and the Future of Forensic Science in Criminal Trials
Discovered an excellent paper by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Right Hon. the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, from 14 October 2014 on Expert Evidence and the Future of Forensic Science in Criminal Trials delivered to the 2014 Criminal Bar Association. See http://netk.net.au/ExpertEvidence/KalisherLecture.pdf. I will provide a more detailed analysis but my first read has indicated some very interesting points about the importance of standards and integrity in expert evidence. Is there a need for a Forensic Science Regulator in Australia????
This morning I attended the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Essential Director Update for 2014. It was extremely informative and helpful about emerging corporate governance issues, legislative matters and relevant case law. We were advised that businesses should establish and maintain a social media policy following the NSW District Court decision in Mickle v Farley  NSWDC 295. The case, which was reported in the accompanying booklet as the first socila media defamation case to proceed to trial, concerned a young former student (Mr Andrew Farley) and a series of defamatory tweets and Facebook posts regarding a teacher (Ms Christine Mickle).
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).