Forensic Scientist

Conflicting expert opinion (is it what it seems?)

Anna Sandiford May 23, 2011

“Having introduced their written evidence with the protestation that they will be independent and unbiased, experts routinely go on to give evidence that is anything but. At least in the eyes of experts regularly giving evidence, the boilerplate declaration of impartiality has as much impact as…..the staple at the top of the page.” And so [...] … Read More

How old am I: a new tool for forensic scientists?

Anna Sandiford May 08, 2011

It would cut short a good crime novel if forensic investigators had the tools to determine the appearance of an offender from the cellular material contained in blood stains at a crime scene.  However, the forensic science community is developing analytical tests that could distinguish ethnicity, eye colour and, now, age. Some of the most [...] … Read More

Tea, Biscuits and the Criminal Reform Bill

Anna Sandiford Apr 19, 2011

The Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill is being touted as the biggest shake-up in New Zealand criminal law for decades (e.g. Justice shake-up will save millions: Govt).  This means the last lot of changes took place in a time before I was born (I don’t know if that makes me feel old or not).  [...] … Read More

Bones: animal or human?

Anna Sandiford Apr 11, 2011

Although this isn’t really my area, some of my colleagues work with interesting ‘things’ that are found at crime scenes or what turn out to be crime scenes, namely bones. A huge amount of police time can be taken up in tackling the problems of ‘stray’ bones found by members of the public or unearthed [...] … Read More

Talking the ’CSI effect’

Anna Sandiford Mar 25, 2011

Whilst filming an episode of Media 7 on Wednesday about the CSI effect, I was struck (not physically) by two things: 1. people genuinely seem interested in the CSI effect; 2. everyone has a different take on what it is and how they see it in the programmes they watch. It was interesting to hear [...] … Read More

Mouth alcohol 2/interfering substances

Anna Sandiford Mar 21, 2011

OK, so alcohol can get lodged in dental plates but is there anything else that can adversely affect an evidential breath alcohol reading? I’ve had another two queries about this, so I thought I’d add a bit more information. Some sprays, such as nitrolingual sprays used to assist with certain heart conditions, and some asthma [...] … Read More

Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout…

Anna Sandiford Mar 09, 2011

I was watching the weather after the 3 news this evening and they showed an image of a water spout over the Manukau Harbour.  Here is the view we had of it as it developed and then petered out.  It was very slow, in the order of many minutes but it revolved slowly and was quite fascinating.  OK, … Read More

Getting grotty with insects (not for the squeamish)

Anna Sandiford Feb 18, 2011

Some forensic scientists have jobs the rest of us could never even imagine, never mind do straight after breakfast.  Take forensic entomology for example.  Its use in suspicious death cases is well known through authors such as Patricia Cornwell and through programmes like Bones and the many versions of CSI, particularly Las Vegas where Grissom [...] … Read More