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Kate began her PhD with The Faculty of Law and TILES at University of Tasmania in April 2010. Kate graduated from University of Tasmania with a combined Commerce and Law degree with first class honours in law in 2008. Over the course of her degree she was a year representative, Careers Officer and later President of the Tasmanian University Law Society and was involved in a number of other positions including marketing officer for the Faculty of Law. Kate has also contributed to a number of research projects across the university in law, philosophy and more recently, a report for TILES in 2009 on legislative review and comparisons for drug driving legislation Australia wide. In the latter half of 2009, Kate spent 8 months volunteering and travelling through eastern and southern Africa, and returned to Tasmania keen to embark on some further study.
Oral presentations at the following:
University of Sydney Law Postgraduate Conference 2011
Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) Conference Postgraduate Day, Geelong 2011.
Coming up – oral presentation at the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) Conference September 2012 Hobart
Lawyers and the legal profession have a responsibility of ensuring that miscarriages of justice do not occur, and that the human rights of every person are respected. Having an understanding and working knowledge of DNA evidence in criminal trials is important in ensuring lawyers uphold this public responsibility. To avoid miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions, lawyers and the courts must have an understanding of the issues involved in forensic science, so that cases where inadequate or substandard forensic evidence is presented do not progress to conviction.
This thesis aims to explore lawyers understanding of DNA evidence in criminal trials and their experience in challenging this evidence. It will identify current and relevant legal provisions and practice directions for lawyers presenting DNA evidence in criminal trials in Victoria and in the ACT and identify Australian and overseas educational programs targeting lawyers and DNA evidence. This study will then highlight limitations and threats to DNA evidence, and examine the role of lawyers and their level of knowledge of these limitations. Finally, the current practices of lawyers in Victoria and the ACT will be explored and discussed as part of a qualitative study and potential areas for improved practice will be identified.
Authorised by the Dean, Faculty of Law
22 February, 2013