News & Views

Streamlined Forensic Reporting – the hidden truth

Forensic EvidenceStreamlined Forensic Reporting (SFR) was rolled out nationally in April 2013.  The CPS guidance document states that  “SFR is a revised case management procedure for producing forensic evidence at court, which seeks to reduce unnecessary costs, and delay in the criminal justice system. The process takes a more proportionate approach to forensic evidence through the early preparation of a short report that details the key forensic evidence the prosecution intend to rely upon.  The aim is to achieve early agreement with the defence on forensic issues but where this cannot be achieved in the first instance, to identify the contested issues.”

The first stage SFR1 report is not a witness statement or report to which the Criminal Procedure Rules apply.  It is, at this stage, difficult for the defence to determine whether they dispute the evidence being provided as the information that the SFR1 provides is often nothing more than a bland description of the analytical result, with little if any background or interpretational information.  READ MORE

A Forensic Market in Flux

Looking down the microsocpe

Over three and a half years on from the closure of the Forensic Science Service, and you might be forgiven for thinking that the market for forensic services would have settled down.  However, it would appear that things are as changeable as ever as budget cuts bite, the money spent on forensic science shrinks further and the long promised government strategy for forensic science has yet to be published.READ MORE

Demonstrating that penetration has occurred when no semen is found: the whys and wherefores of Y-STRs

DNA

Evidence to demonstrate that penile or digital penetration of the vagina has taken place can be difficult to find in some cases.  Traditional DNA profiling techniques can’t really help as the few male cells potentially deposited are overwhelmed by the large amount of female DNA present in the vaginal cells.  Y-STR typing is a form of DNA analysis that targets just the DNA present on the male Y chromosome allowing production of a male Y-STR profile even in the presence of seemingly overwhelming amounts of female DNA.READ MORE

DNA transfer: a question of when and how

DNA transfer shaking hands

In recent years, forensic science has seen a number of significant improvements in the field of forensic DNA analysis.  One of the drivers has been the need to detect ever decreasing amounts of DNA.  The DNA17 technique, in routine use in the UK since July 2014, is designed to be more sensitive than its predecessor SGMPlus, and therefore the spotlight is shining more brightly on the issues around DNA transfer and persistence.READ MORE