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Iain McKie

Lies, damned lies, and no statistics:

An article by Professor Allan Jamieson of the Forensic Institute highlights the very real problems accused persons have in seeking to rebut or to introduce expert evidence to our Appeal Court. I would argue that exactly the same culture exist in the SCCRC. Time for an overhaul?
A series of recent Appeal Court judgements has seen the triumph of scientific experience over experiment, and the relegation of DNA evidence from the gold standard of scientific evidence to no more than a subjective opinion.  The recent case at the Court of Criminal Appeal for England and Wales of Dlugosz represents the final stage in the descent of DNA evidence, and perhaps scientific evidence generally, to subjective guesses based on the somewhat awkward, limited, and difficult to assess concept of the experience of the scientist (if that professional name can be applied in the circumstances).
Big Wullie


Of course, further evidence of the Appeal Court’s ignorance of science is evidenced in yet another recent case (Weller) where they opined,

“we do hope that the courts will not be troubled in future by attempts to rely on published work by people who have no practical experience in the field and therefore cannot contradict or bring any useful evidence to bear on issues that are not always contained in scientific journals. There are plenty of really experienced experts who are available and it is to those that the courts look for assistance in cases of this kind.”

It is proposed, as it suits the prosecution, to deal with complex profiles either by complex software to produce a statistic, or simply to throw the science away by removing the need in DNA evidence to have any statistics at all!  So what is proposed to replace scientific analysis?

“providing that the nature of the evaluative opinion is clearly explained to the jury and it is made clear to them that the opinion is an evaluative one based on experience and not on statistics” [Dlugosz] Forum Index -> Test Forum 1
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Sincere thanks to all those who have supported Shirley and challenged miscarriages of justice on this forum.