Scholar raises red flags over expert forensic evidence

Vancouver, BC     June 6th, 2014     Originally published: The Wall Papers

There’s a problem lurking in the modern courtroom. From Canada and the US, to Australia and countries the world over, judges and juries are relying on forensic evidence that one Peter Wall Visiting Research Scholar says hasn’t undergone enough formal evaluation and testing of the kind seen in the mainstream science disciplines.

“Many of the techniques – and here I’m talking about things as diversified as ballistics, voice comparison, or the use of images to identify people in robberies, for example – these [techniques] are used routinely to identify people, and yet many of them haven’t been subject to serious formal evaluation to see whether they work”, says Dr. Gary Edmond, a 2013-2014 Peter Wall Institute International Visiting Research Scholar.

Historically, scientific technologies and techniques, such as the long-studied field of DNA analysis, have used validation experiments in order to measure the limits of these approaches by gauging levels of uncertainty, accuracy and error.

According to Dr. Edmond, a professor from Australia’s University of South Wales School of Law, that kind of evidence validation just isn’t happening in many of today’s forensic sciences.

Read the full article in The Wall Papers – Spring 2014 …

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