Miscarriages of justice: criminal appeals and the rule of law in Australia (2015) / Bibi Sangha & Robert N. Moles
The authors identify a fundamental flaw that lies at the heart of the Australian criminal justice system: an inconsistency between what constitutes a miscarriage of justice under substantive law against what constitutes a miscarriage of justice under procedural law. By examining the problematic nature of the criminal appeal rights in Australia, Sangha and Moles argue that the existing system does not comply with the rule of law provisions or Australia’s international human rights obligations.
South Australia has introduced a new statutory right of appeal and Tasmania is considering doing the same. This represents the first substantive change to the criminal appeal rights in Australia in 100 years.
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Table of Contents | Volume 19, Pages e1-e2, 1-290 (November 2015)
Table of Contents | Volume 60 Issue 5 September 2015
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Popular Science November 2015 Anna Denejkina
Australia will soon open its first taphonomic research centre, where bodies will be left in the open (and other places) so we can study how they decay.
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International Journal of Legal Medicine 05 November 2015
oday, there exists a number of tools for solving kinship cases. But what happens when information comes from a mixture? DNA mixtures are in general rarely seen in kinship cases, but in a case presented to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, sample DNA was obtained after a rape case that resulted in an unwanted pregnancy and abortion. The only available DNA from the fetus came in form of a mixture with the mother, and it was of interest to find the father of the fetus. The mother (the victim), however, refused to give her reference data and so commonly used methods for paternity testing were no longer applicable. As this case illustrates, kinship cases involving mixtures and missing reference profiles do occur and make the use of existing methods rather inconvenient. We here present statistical methods that may handle general relationship inference based on DNA mixtures. The basic idea is that likelihood calculations for mixtures can be decomposed into a series of kinship problems. This formulation of the problem facilitates the use of kinship software. We present the freely available R package relMix which extends on the R version of Familias. Complicating factors like mutations, silent alleles, and θ-correction are then easily handled for quite general family relationships, and are included in the statistical methods we develop in this paper. The methods and their implementations are exemplified on the data from the rape case.
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Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume 20, January 2016
Available literature on the detection of transferred DNA does not address the interpretation issues in relation to who wore rather than touched the garment. To acquire a greater knowledge of the rate of detectable wearer, toucher and background DNA, 63 males wore their own underpants for 12 h. The inside-waistband was handled by one of 11 female volunteers for 15 s. The waist-band was mini-taped and subjected to DNA profiling with the AMPFℓSTR® NGM SElect™ kit.
The findings show that on worn garments the probability of observing reportable DNA profiles is 61.9%. The wearer was detected as a single profile or part of a mixed profile in 50.8% of samples. When the wearer was present in a mixture, he was always observed as the major contributor. The toucher was detected on 11.1% of underpants. Reportable background DNA (non-wearer and non-toucher) occurs in 14.3% of samples and may affect the assessment of who wore the garment.
Greater knowledge of the frequency of detection of reportable wearer DNA and/or toucher allows scientists to evaluate the likelihood of observing a matching profile if an individual wore a garment rather than touched it in disputed case scenarios.
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