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Open Right

Liz Porter: Getting Away With Murder: CSI in the classroom.

Session Info:

Session description:

A session for teachers and students of legal studies, using real life cases to bring the subject to life. In the Legal Studies course, students have to consider the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in achieving justice, and to look at reforms that could improve the system. Cold cases are extremely relevant, as they offer examples of miscarriages of justice. The session includes a survey of cases solved by forensic science, with a focus on cold cases (cases which have remained unsolved or which were incorrectly solved the first time and where forensic science results helped correct a miscarriage of justice ) . Also cases featuring DNA developments and other cases which illustrate interesting legal points.


  • Several cases which highlight the ineffectiveness of legal systems here and in the UK.
  • Cases which illustrate the use of new DNA techniques (familial DNA) now in use in the UK and NZ but still being on the drawing board in Australia.
  • The story of a Victorian case (Farah Jama) where a man went to jail for a crime that didn’t happen (a DNA contamination was at the heart of it).
  • A tragic case where a forensic scientist could not give the evidence that would have convicted a man because of the rules governing the use of expert evidence.

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