Monday, April 27, 2015

FBI overstated hair match crisis; (13); (The Emperor's Clothes); Crisis seen as tip of the iceberg; Scottish professor Niamh Nic Daeid sees forensic science and forensic evidence as an "international issue" saying "The techniques we use in the United Kingdom are the same techniques broadly speaking as are used in the United States or in Europe or in Australia or elsewhere around the world. So for many of the evidence types, it is completely relevant right the way across the world." (Must, Must Read. HL);

STORY: "Forensic science in crisis as doubt cast on key CSI techniques," by reporter Judith Duffy,  published by The Herald (Scotland) on April 26, 2015.

GIST: "Scottish scientists are working with judges to improve confidence in forensic evidence being brought before the courts amid a growing crisis over techniques beloved of TV crime shows such as CSI. Experts say forensic science is facing an impending emergency, with concerns raised over the reliability of commonly used evidence - such as fingerprints, bite marks and blood splatter analysis - and a series of recent high-profile miscarriage of justice cases. Last week a shocking report emerged in the US which found the testimony of scientists from an elite FBI forensic unit which carried out microscopic hair analysis - matching defendants and a hair found at a crime scene - was scientifically indefensible in 95 per cent cases which have been re-examined.........And it is feared this is the tip of the iceberg: more than 2,500 cases involving the unit are under review, and the FBI experts provided training on how to present evidence in court across the country raising the prospect of tens of thousands of other cases being affected.  Professor Niamh Nic Daeid (CORR), of the University of Dundee's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, told the Sunday Herald a recent summit had been held in London to bring together international researchers, academics and members of the judiciary for the first time to discuss how to make sure courts have confidence in forensic evidence. Nic Daeid, who organised the event with colleague and leading forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black, said the issues surrounding the reliability of forensics were global.........A three-part BBC Radio 4 series on forensics, which began last week, highlighted recent high-profile cases involving failures in forensics include Barry George, who spent seven years in jail for the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando before his conviction - based largely on a speck of gunshot residue found in his pocket - was overturned. Other recent scandals include the case of Scottish police officer Shirley McKie, who was paid compensation after being wrongly accused of visiting the scene of a murder on the basis of a thumbprint. Last month Italian judges cleared American Amanda Knox of the murder of UK student Meredith Kercher after doubts were raised over DNA evidence. In 2009, a report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in America uncovered serious problems over flawed science - such as fingerprints, bite mark and blood spatter analysis - being presented in courtrooms by unreliable experts, yet being viewed as foolproof evidence in court. Another type of forensic evidence which came under attack as unreliable in the NAS report was hair analysis. This technique, based on matching particular characteristics in a strand of hair, first became popular in the 1950s, but it has now been replaced by more sophisticated DNA analysis. Speaking on Radio 4's "Forensics in Crisis" programme, which is broadcast on Tuesday at 11am, Nic Daeid said the NAS report exposed "significant scientific deficiencies" in the methods to both examine and interpret evidence. She said: "In many areas the NAS was looking at a number of different types of what we would call really quite conventional evidence types that is used almost on a daily basis - looking at examination of things like fibres and hair and so on....there was a general concern around the validity, around the professionalism of how forensic analysis was being carried out." She added: "Forensic science and forensic evidence is not a national issue, it is an international issue. The techniques we use in the United Kingdom are the same techniques broadly speaking as are used in the United States or in Europe or in Australia or elsewhere around the world. So for many of the evidence types, it is completely relevant right the way across the world."
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:
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;