The second Kathleen Folbigg inquiry has been unfolding in Sydney, where former NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst KC is reviewing the scientific evidence in a complex case which revolves around a woman who’s already spent more than 19 years in jail.
Among other evidence, the inquiry has focussed on recent analysis of genetic mutations which were not understood when Folbigg was convicted of the deaths of her four children in 2003.
The scientists presenting this sometimes confusing evidence are expected to remain impartial, assisting not the defence or the prosecution, but the court itself.
It’s a minefield for people whose day job is to interrogate data and analyse chemical reactions, and who are less familiar with being interrogated inside a court.
Professor Adrian Linacre, the Chair of Forensic Science at Flinders University, has given evidence in 100 or so cases in six countries. He was the former head of the Forensic Science Society of Australia and New Zealand.
In this podcast he explains to Cosmos Science Digital News Editor Ian Mannix the difficulties which face scientists when they are giving evidence in court.
More on the Folbigg inquiries
- Mutation researchers affirm their science at inquiry
- Scientists grilled on advocacy and accuracy
- Calmodulin variants “not benign” say Danish experts
- Can the law keep up with science?
- Video explainer: What is Calmodulin