While we weren’t looking…

By Anna Sandiford 06/04/2010

It’s been quiet on the Forensic Scientist blog front the past few weeks, largely because of a computer glitch that took over.  But we’re up and running again now.  Only to find that we turn our backs for five minutes and there’s all sorts going on out there.

We note from the USA that the San Francisco Crime Scene Lab has been closed and an audit ordered because it seems that rather than keeping seized drugs for the court cases, a lab technician may have been using some of the drugs for herself.  As if this weren’t bad enough, the prosecutors have decided to drop a swathe of cases because they can’t be sure what happened to the seized drugs once they arrived at the crime scene laboratory. Perhaps the technician tested some of the drugs and used the surplus for herself – no-one knows the details as yet. What is known is that the technician in question has recently been in drug and alcohol rehab…

Then there’s the case of the firearms lab technician in Indiana who was grazed by a bullet after he test-fired a firearm in the testing centre. Apparently, after he fired the weapon, the bullet bounced back and hit his head. The report is silent on the distance over which the shot was fired or, indeed, off what the bullet ricocheted but the technician is expected to make a full recovery.

And finally, this is possibly something of which others are aware but that we haven’t seen reported on the news. The body of the former President of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, was stolen last December and was found three months later in a cemetery, which is a pretty cunning place to hide a body. The theft was apparently well-planned but the Police have no idea who did it or even why although there could be a lot of suspects, given that Mr Papadopoulos made a lot of enemies during his political career.

So although New Zealand isn’t perfect in its crime-fighting approach, at least our scientists haven’t shot themselves recently whilst taking court-exhibit drugs or stealing the bodies of former Prime Ministers.

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