Newington College

Forensic Science on Trial

Forensic Science on Trial
  • Start Date
    Wednesday, 14 August 2024
  • End Date
    Wednesday, 14 August 2024
  • Time
    6:00PM - 8:00PM
  • Location
    Newington College

Forensic science involves the application of scientific principles and techniques to matters relating to the law, with fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and pathology underpinning its practice. Interest in forensic science is often associated with its portrayal in the media – including fictionalised programs and documentaries related to real life cases which provide glimpses into this highly specialised and technical field.

Science as an endeavour relies on core principles of ethical practice to ensure the reliability and validity of any conclusions drawn. Given the potential for scientific evidence to impact upon a person’s freedom, the role of ethical practice in forensic science is heightened. In recent years, numerous high-profile cases have come to light where the practice of forensic science has played a role in wrongful convictions. Comprehensive case reviews indicate that such outcomes can be attributed to errors related to ethical practice including investigative issues, confirmation bias, data integrity, behaviours in the courtroom and various other ethical dilemmas which affect forensic scientists.  

In this presentation, the role of ethics and Forensic Science will be explored through the lens of both local and international cases, addressing the important question: Should forensic science be on trial?

Alison Beavis

Alison Beavis is the Deputy Dean Education for the Faculty of Science at UNSW. She is passionate about STEM education, seeing the transformative impact it can have on individuals, communities and society at large. An active researcher in the field of forensic science, she focuses on the analysis of forensic traces and how the information is interpreted, including projects related to forensic drug intelligence and gunshot residue analysis. 

Alison is also a celebrated educator having received multiple national awards, including the UTS Teaching and Research Medal. After joining UNSW in 2020, she has led significant change in program renewal and scaling opportunities for students to undertake internships and professional placements.