Anna Sandiford

Dr Anna Sandiford is a forensic science consultant and expert witness. She is also Director of The Forensic Group Ltd, a scientific consultancy based in New Zealand with an extensive national and international networks of experts upon whom to call. She has been been involved with forensic science since 1998 in both the UK and New Zealand and has assisted with cases throughout New Zealand, the UK, Channel Islands and Cayman Islands. Her areas of forensic expertise include alcohol, drugs, drug driving, drug traces, footwear/sockprints, glass and pollen (palynology). She is one of a handful of forensic pollen experts worldwide and is involved with an international team that provides environmental forensic services to police and intelligence agencies, particularly in the UK.

Pike River mine explosion — geologists are here… - Forensic Scientist

Nov 20, 2010

Just a short observation.  Tomorrow, 21 November 2010, the annual Geological Society of New Zealand conference will begin in Auckland:  GeoNZ 2010.  The conference has an overlap day with the NZ Branch of  The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). The deadline for GeoNZ abstracts was extended as a result of the Darfield earthquake [...]

Small World – NZ’s a winner! - Forensic Scientist

Nov 16, 2010

As a pollen expert, I love the world down the microscope.  I like to browse the Nikon Small World website and take the “What is this?” challenge. They have awards each year for the best image and, if you didn’t already know, this year it’s great to see a New Zealand entry achieved 9th place – Duane Harland of AgResearch in Lincoln with an image of a flea. A fine job indeed. Add to that 19th place to Cameron Johnson of the University of Auckland with a picture of a “Wistar rat retina outlining the retinal vessel network and associated communication channels”.  It’s all very impressive, particularly given the thousands of entries from all round the world, every year. As a geologist I like the 8th place cacoxenite (mineral) but as a lover of Chinese … Read More

2nd blood sample – going, going…gone? - Forensic Scientist

Nov 12, 2010

Feeling suitably impressed with the facade, I attended at the Beehive a week or so ago to speak in front of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. Apart from seeing a few familiar faces (from the TV, not that I knew in person), it was quite reminiscent of giving evidence in court except that after our statements, it was no holds barred and they could ask us anything they wanted. The reason I was there was because I was invited by Patrick Winkler, criminal law barrister specialising in drink driving cases, and Dr Roderick Mulgan, medical doctor and criminal law barrister who had asked me, as a forensic scientist specialising in alcohol cases, for my opinion about proposed changes to the law. We were all at parliament to add our comments about The Land Transport (Road … Read More

Blood alcohol 2nd sample — will it be lost? - Forensic Scientist

Oct 29, 2010

Feeling suitably impressed with the facade, I attended at the Beehive yesterday to speak in front of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.  Apart from seeing a few familiar faces (from the TV, not that I knew in person), it was quite reminiscent of giving evidence in court except that after our statements, it [...]

How do I look? - Forensic Scientist

Sep 30, 2010

According to a the UK Academy of Experts, the typical Expert Witness (which includes science, healthcare and engineering) in 2010 is male, self-employed and in his mid fifties. In the last 12 months he received 38 instructions (to do casework), wrote 39 reports, made one court appearance and charged 187 pounds per hour (information from the 2010 Fees Survey).  This is an interesting description because I don’t meet any of those averages: I am female, run a limited company and am in my forties (only just – practically 39 really). So far this year, we’ve had over 75 inquiries (not enough), written a similar number of reports and I’ve been to court three times, being mindful that when I was in England I was at court at least twice a week.  And we charge less than 187 pounds an … Read More

A top programme – Media7’s Spotlight - Forensic Scientist

Aug 19, 2010

I’m not a climate scientist and I don’t pretend to be. Although I’m a forensic scientist, I know a surprising amount about climate change in New Zealand over the last one million years and how volcanic eruptions from various different volcanic centres might affect a large urban area like Auckland (that was my PhD subject). That sort of relates to the climate debate, but it’s not something I feel qualified to discuss properly. However, I was still very interested in last night’s filming of Media7’s Spotlight on Science and Technology where consideration was given to the Climategate debate and how the media went about reporting it. Science communication is a new field, certainly to me, and it was interesting to hear the takes that people had on the issue, both as scientists and journalists. Peter Griffin of the … Read More

“Every contact leaves a trace…” - Forensic Scientist

Aug 15, 2010

Or so said Edmond Locard in the 1800s, being one of the best known forensic scientists of history.  His statement Every contact leaves a trace has been a basic tenet of forensic science for many years.  The trick has been whether or not forensic scientists can detect those traces. Well, it sounds like a new method of detecting a trace could herald a new beginning in fingerprint enhancement.  A team at the University of Leicester’s Forensic Research Centre has developed a method to enhance fingerprint marks from metal surfaces even if the metal surface has seemingly been wiped clean. The advance in fingerprint enhancement apparently works by using heat and humidity on the surfaces on which the fingeprint may be located – that’s it in the article for the scientific detail though.  According to one of the researchers, Alex … Read More

Drugs, driving and saliva - Forensic Scientist

Aug 02, 2010

After a brief airing on RadioLive this morning to talk about a recent press release regarding drug/drink driving statistics, I thought it pertinent to add a little something to clarify what I was saying (three minutes is not a long time to say what you need to say on an issue as big as this!). [...]

To reduce or not reduce — that is the blood alcohol question - Forensic Scientist

Jul 28, 2010

Several posts have got involved in the blood alcohol debate (examples being Blood alcohol, Categories of drunk and Wobbling into the road after a night at the pub….). Should NZ reduce the blood alcohol limit for driving a motor vehicle from 80 mg alc/100 ml blood to 50? The UK still has 80 in blood [...]