Michelle Novotny travelled to the...
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Michelle Novotny travelled to the USA for last week’s April 2017 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organisation of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) Subcommittee Meeting in Leesburg, Virginia, USA. Draft standards are slowly moving through the review process, firstly within NIST OSAC, and then through the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Academy Standards Board (AAFS ASB). As each draft standard is submitted for review higher up the chain, the forensic document examination subcommittee task groups pick up the next one on the long list of standards to tackle.
Andrea Devlin attended the February Plenary session of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Inc. in Sydney where Dr Dennis McNevin (Associate Professor (Forensic Genetics) Faculty of Education, Science Technology and Mathematics, University of Canberra) presented a fascinating talk titled “Unlocking the “silent witness” of DNA”. The topic covered emerging techniques in DNA analysis, such as massively parallel sequencing (MPS), and the intelligence information that can be gleaned from using such techniques, including biogeographical ancestry and externally visible characteristics. The future of forensic genetics is set to be very interesting! FDS values keeping a finger on the pulse of emerging techniques in other fields of forensic science in the interest of facilitating a more effective interdisciplinary approach.
Andrea Devlin attended a one-day workshop on Electronic Document Records Management (EDRM) on 1 February 2017 in Sydney. Michelle Novotny presented one of the seminars at the workshop to educate the attendees on how EDRM processes can compromise forensic document evidence in civil and criminal disputes that may arise. Considerations discussed for improving EDRM systems included imaging processes, uncompressed file formats and increased resolutions. The limitations associated with examining non-originals, which are often the product of EDRM systems, has long been a concern of Forensic Document Services, and we hope that the seminar and similar future seminars will stimulate productive dialogues with developers and users of EDRM systems.
The Hon. Justice Chris Maxwell (of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria) was the plenary speaker at the 2016 AGM of the AAFS on Wednesday and discussed the topic of “Judging Forensic Evidence: Reliability and Validation?”. Michelle Novotny, as a member, and Andrea Devlin and Claire Graydon, as guests, were part of an engaged audience for this presentation on what is a subject of broad and current interest. Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd looks forward to attending the quarterly AAFS meetings in 2017.
As part of the commitment by Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd to ongoing professional development for our team of examiners, Dermot Allen (Product Manager – Life Science & Industry Divisions) of Leica Microsystems was invited to attend our Sydney Laboratory to run a day-long tailored workshop on microscopy and digital imaging. FDS would like to thank Dermot for his time and for the in-depth practical session that combined refreshers with many new tips and techniques to maximise the resources in the Leica Application Suite software.
On 31 October 2016, Claire Graydon was a guest lecturer for the Chemical Criminalistics class in the Forensic Science, Crime Scene Examination Degree program at CIT. The lecture provided an overview of the scope of forensic document examination, covered aspects of invasive and non-invasive examination techniques as well as proper collection, handling and storage of document evidence.
Andrea Devlin gained insight about the investigation into the 2014 Rozelle convenience store fire at the October Public Night of the NSW branch of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANFZSS) in Sydney. Lead police investigator Detective Sergeant Richard Howe, lead crime scene investigator Detective Sergeant Philip Elliott and lead fire investigator Michael Forbes all spoke about the investigation that led to the conviction of Adeel Khan for the murder of Chris Noble and the manslaughter of Bianka and Jude O’Brien.
Claire Graydon attended the lecture "Should statisticians be the gatekeepers of forensic science?" presented by Professor James Curran at the University of Canberra on 13 October 2016. Professor Curran addressed concerns about the need for better co-operation between forensic scientists and statisticians as well as concerns about the potential for misapplication and misinterpretation of statistics in the judicial system. Professor Curran’s ultimate answer to the question posed in the title of the presentation was “no”. Rather, statistics should be used to aid the understanding and progress the validity of forensic sciences, where statistics can appropriately be applied to aid the understanding of the significance of results.
Michelle Novotny recently represented Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd at the 23rd International Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) in Auckland, New Zealand. The multi-stream program kept Michelle, and the many hundreds of delegates, busy learning, discussing and networking with colleagues from numerous countries around the world and all forensic disciplines. Michelle also presented the interim findings of an ongoing research project that she is currently undertaking with Claire Graydon (of FDS) and Peter Tytell (of Forensic Research LLC), “Typewriter Look-alike Computer Fonts – A Reference Collection and Critical Dates”.
On 29 September 2016, Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd (represented by Claire Graydon) exhibited at the inaugural conference for the Sydney chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The conference included presentations from a wide range of organisations in the fraud investigation and prevention arena and was attended by a diverse group of members and affiliates of the association.