SciBlogs

The CSI effect – it’s still going…but changing shape? Anna Sandiford Dec 17

Here is a link to an article on Stuff.co.nz today that deals with the CSI effect: TV shows having an influence on juries. As you will see, I added my two pennarth to it. In my experience over the last 12 months, as a phenomenon the CSI effect raises less questions at presentations and lectures (read more)

Expert evidence: can we learn from others? Anna Sandiford Dec 17

One of the hardest things to do in life seems to be to learn from the mistakes of others.  For example, when learning to drive (“mirror, signal, manoeuvre” has been devised for good reason, not, as young male relatives seems to think, just so older people can tell younger people what to do and then (read more)

What is a standard alcoholic drink? Anna Sandiford Nov 06

What IS a standard alcoholic drink?  It’s a nightmare, that’s what it is.  As a forensic alcohol toxicologist, the concept of a standard drink is somewhat arbitrary and inconsistent because the people drinking them differ in physical stature and biological processing ability so the alcohol in a standard drink contributes a different amount to people (read more)

Don’t forget: breath alcohol levels continue to rise after you stop drinking! Anna Sandiford Nov 06

I have just been watching Campbell Live where the presenters had a two-hour lunch with alcoholic drinks and then tested themselves with a breath alcohol screening device to see how they felt to drive compared with what alcohol they had actually consumed.  This is all as a result of the government’s (good, in my opinion) (read more)

Children and mud: mutually exclusive?! Anna Sandiford Nov 05

At risk of sounding like an old person, I still have to ask at what point did children become allergic to outdoor entertainment involving mud, rain and a stick?  I ask this seemingly inane question as the result of a school trip to the local beach on which I was a parent supervisor recently. We (read more)

How not to apply for a job/research position/other future career role Anna Sandiford Oct 18

We receive a regular flow of email requests from science students around the world enquiring about how they can become forensic scientists.  That’s all good – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. What irritates me immensely is the clearly haphazard and unthinking approach that is so immensely common throughout those from people who are (read more)

A Criminal Cases Review Commission for NZ? Anna Sandiford Oct 17

On the back of the Lundy case, there has been some discussion in the last week about whether or not New Zealand should consider having an independent organisation to assess potential miscarriages of justice, similar to the English Criminal Cases Review Commission. It’s not the first time the suggestion has been mooted: several other high-profile (read more)

Filming a real murder accused’s conviction Anna Sandiford Jul 02

A brief post this one about a British Channel 4 production that recorded a 6 week murder trial and its outcome: “The dramatic moment in which a man is convicted of arranging the murder of his wife and then disposing of her body will be broadcast on television next week. … A documentary crew working (read more)

Robin Bain finger marks Anna Sandiford Jun 27

Many people may have seen 3rd Degree on Wednesday night about the marks on Robin Bain’s thumb and forefinger as recorded in two crime scene photographs. Earlier this year I spent a morning with Police and ESR staff and some of the defence team during the testing of the murder weapon by Robbie Tiffen and (read more)

Are all drownings accidental? Are too many fires arson? Anna Sandiford Mar 18

What if not all drownings are accidental?  An ABC article asks this question and raises some interesting points about how investigators deal with bodies found on land and those found in water. “Bodies found in water are treated very differently from bodies found on land, for example there is not a county in this country (read more)

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