Friday, January 31, 2014

Amanda Knox: Aftermath 1: BBC Science Writer focuses on the role played by DNA contamination in the case - and raises the question of how many other errors in DNA analysis have been made because of "transference" in other cases - including cases in the UK; (And elsewhere presumably. HL); (Must, Must Read. HL);

STORY: "Kercher trial: How does DNA contamination occur?" 
"Potential for the contamination of forensic DNA evidence has been highlighted by the Meredith Kercher murder trial. But just how much of a problem is it and what lessons should be drawn? The high-profile retrial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who had been imprisoned for the killing of Meredith Kercher, has placed renewed scrutiny on the DNA analysis carried out in the case. An Italian court has now reinstated the 2009 guilty verdicts which were overturned on appeal in 2011, handing down a sentence of 28 years and six months for Knox and 25 years for Sollecito. During the retrial, the judge ordered a new DNA test on the knife that prosecutors had submitted as evidence. But some independent forensic scientists told the BBC this knife (which had been considered a possible murder weapon) should never have been given the importance it was because there was no evidence of blood found on it. Greg Hampikian, from Boise State University in Idaho, US, is one of them. The forensic expert is critical of the way DNA evidence was handled.  "I could see the problem with the case right away," says Dr Hampikian, who adds that he became interested in the case early on.........The precise mechanics of the process by which a person's DNA can be transferred from one object to another, without that person being present, is still poorly understood. Allan Jamieson, director of the Forensic Institute in Glasgow, is keen to highlight this problem. It is well known, he says, that DNA moves around very easily but "the reality is we don't know enough about DNA transfer to explain it". When an object is found to have traces of several people's DNA on it, this says little about who touched the object last, Dr Jamieson explains. "There's an unfortunate tendency for people in forensic science to want to be detectives and solve things, but that takes them beyond the science," he says. "The science doesn't [necessarily] assist you in cases like this, because there's a known mechanism of transfer." Jo Millington, a senior forensic scientist at Manlove Forensics, agrees. She says that "it's not really a case of who the DNA could have come from; it's more a question of how it got there". She adds: "In the Kercher case in particular, there's not been due consideration given to how DNA can be transferred and that's rife across DNA analysis in the UK.""
The entire story can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
I look forward to hearing from readers at: