Television dramas like CSI Bones and Criminal Minds – can create false expectations and impressions of forensic science, especially in the courtroom. Listen to this radio broadcast from 9 January, 2014 to find out more.
Listen to the RNZ audio: The CSI effect and forensic science
This genre of television viewing has certainly raised awareness of the field of forensic science, but does it accurately portray what a forensic scientist does? Does it confuse jurors or others in the court about the true role and capabilities of a forensic scientist? Hannah Forrest talks to University of Otago forensic chemist Jurian Hoogewerff and barrister and law lecturer Len Andersen about the CSI effect.
The role of a forensic scientist
Juries are becoming better educated about forensics
Television crime dramas have had an effect on juries. Juries are much more aware of forensic evidence now than they were 40 or 50 years ago. A lack of forensic evidence may be seen as favourable to a defendant, and the defence counsel is likely to emphasise its absence.
Try this activity to help your students learn about the collection and processing of DNA evidence and use DNA profiling to solve a crime.
Programme details: Our Changing World.
Forensics covers much more than catching criminals. Visit the University of Otago website for an overview of forensic science.