Sunday, March 18, 2007

Courtroom: Accreditation of Forensic Expert Witnesses & Daubert in UK

The issues of introducing accreditation for forensic expert witnesses and Daubert hearings have again been raised in the UK, this time in response to recent acquittals (where both sides had expert witnesses that disagreed) and the conviction of Gene Morrison on 20 counts of deceptively representing himself as a forensic expert with academic qualifications.

Several interesting things are discussed in this article (which basically reads like an opinion piece), including Daubert, whether a case should proceed when there is a serious dispute over forensic evidence, registration and accreditation of forensic expert witnesses, and the effect of privatizing forensic science service organizations.

(Hat Tip: TimesOnline, UK)


ajf said...

Interesting article designed to fuel misstrust of expert witness testimony. Accredited expert evidence should be redefined to withstand scientific scrutiny. Evidence of one expert's opinion against that of another is tendered by the defense with two clear intentions. Firstly to secure an acquital or not guilty verdict at the initial trial, and should this fail to provide grounds for subsequent appeals in the higher courts. Where appeals are upheld, it is often on the grounds that the original convictions were "unsafe", not that an innocent person has been sent to prison!

Keith said...

Dear AJF,
I'm glad you pointed those things out! I'm sure you also noticed that the author works for the defense, so, as the old saying goes, "where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit". He sits on the defense side of the courtroom, that is for sure.

I have always worked for the prosecution, so I have the in-built biases of where I "sit". I do try to be even-handed, maybe too much so, as in this case.