3 The role of the forensic scientist in law
The end result of many forensic investigations is their use to prove guilt or innocence in a criminal trial, establish liability in a civil trial, reach an internal disciplinary decision in a company, or arrive at a result in an employment tribunal.
Perform a search on UK internet news and legal websites for reports about Professor Sir Roy Meadow, a child welfare specialist widely believed to have misunderstood statistical material in cases involving mothers accused of killing their children. As a result of his testimonies a number of women were imprisoned and only later released. Who do you think is to blame for what happened?
You will, of course, have your own opinion, but you should consider how much blame should fall on Professor Meadow and how much should fall on the courts and lawyers for not testing his evidence with sufficient rigour.