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WATCH: Inaugural Lecture: Professor Carole McCartney, Northumbria Law School



The Forensic Science Paradox

Those among us with an interest in forensic science or wrongful convictions, fictional or otherwise, do not struggle for entertainment. Indeed, our interests can often be catered for in the very same TV series or movie, with forensic science having become indelibly linked with wrongful convictions.

One can never be sure however, whether the forensic scientist is going to be the antagonist, or ally. Such dualism poses a challenge to researchers and reformers. Should forensic science be encouraged as a powerful antidote to wrongful convictions, or would the safer policy be to leave the ‘CSI’ kit at home and avoid potential injustice? 

This lecture will explain this ‘forensic science paradox’: as cause and cure of wrongful convictions, and suggest solutions to mitigate the risks posed by reliance upon forensic science.

About the Speaker 

Carole McCartney is a Professor in the School of Law, Northumbria University. Previously senior lecturer in criminal law and criminal justice at the University of Leeds, and Bond University, Queensland, Australia. Carole has written on Australian justice, Innocence Projects, miscarriages of justice, policing cooperation, and DNA, forensic science and criminal justice more widely. She established an Innocence Project at the University of Leeds in 2005, and was project manager for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report ‘The Forensic Uses of Bio-information: Ethical Issues’ and the Nuffield Foundation project ‘The Future of Forensic Bioinformation. She completed an EU Marie Curie international research fellowship (2009-2012) on ‘Forensic Identification Frontiers’.  She continues to work on projects around forensic science and miscarriages of justice, biometrics, and science and justice.

Read more on Carole's staff profile here

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