A top judge believes innocent people may have been jailed because of inaccurate forensic evidence.
By
NITV Staff Writer

Source:
NITV News
2 Sep 2019 - 12:24 PM  UPDATED 2 Sep 2019 - 12:24 PM

A senior judge has issued a warning about the quality of forensic science standards in Australia.

Justice Chris Maxwell, president of the Victorian Court of Appeal, says some forensic techniques - including gunshot analysis, footprint analysis, hair comparison and bite mark comparison - are unreliable.

He has called for laws around Australia to be changed so that judges can consider how reliable forensic evidence is before it is presented to juries.

"There have been a string of wrongful convictions across the world," Justice Maxwell told The Age

"The benefit of better DNA testing has shown that very many people convicted on the basis of 'crook science', for example, bite mark analysis, were innocent.”

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Recent upheaval in forensic science around the world can be traced to a landmark study released in 2009 by the US National Academy of Sciences.

“Testimony based on faulty forensic science analyses may have contributed to the wrongful conviction of innocent people,” it said. 

With the exception of DNA analysis, the report found, “no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.”