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The directors of Independent Forensic Services, Helen Roebuck and Jae Gerhard, have over 20 years combined experience in operational forensic laboratories, and have been involved in thousands of case – including attendance at crime scenes. They are experts in Human Contact Traces (including blood, semen, saliva, bloodstain patter analysis) as well as DNA analysis and interpretation.
We have significant experience in DNA analysis within operational forensic science laboratories. We have the ability to review the methodology utilised within a case, or alternatively we can process DNA samples independently in order to verify or refute a result. Please note that cases involving processing of DNA samples do require a longer turn around time, so please contact us ASAP to discuss your requirements.
The interpretation of DNA profiles is often complex, and can involve complex statistical analyses. We can use our extensive experience to provide an independent review of the DNA profiling results generated in a case. Our scientists have the ability to interpret DNA profiles and statistically evaluate them through the use of STRmix™.
Note that STRmix™ software is now the preferred tool for complex mixed DNA profile evaluation and is used throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Furthermore, we will review all of the information available from the examination and recovery of the DNA, through the DNA analysis methodology applied, and looking at the DNA results in the context of the case circumstances – to form an opinion on the evidence. We do not report match or no match, we will give an opinion on the findings based on the case information.
Blood Pattern Analysis (BPA) is the interpretation of bloodstains in order to recreate the actions that caused the bloodshed. BPA uses scientific principles of biology (behavior of blood), physics (cohesion, capillary action and velocity) and mathematics (geometry, distance and angles).
The appearance and distribution, including the size, range, shape and spread of any bloodstains on, for example, a weapon, items of clothing or on objects at the crime scene can assist in interpreting these blood loss events. Blood pattern analysis can also be of great assistance in evaluating the credibility of statements provided by witnesses, victims and suspects.
The work carried out at a crime scene is pivotal to a case – this is where evidence is recovered and collected. If this stage isn’t completed with the utmost care and due diligence, the entire case may be compromised. In some states, including NSW and Queensland, samples are collected by Crime Scene Officers and submitted to the laboratory in tubes for immediate processing – in many instances, no laboratory examination is conducted.
There are many techniques employed in the forensic biology lab for the detection of body fluids, influencing blood, semen, saliva and urine. Independent Forensic Services has experience across a broad range of these techniques. Not only can we use our expertise to independently interpret findings obtained by other agencies, we also have the ability to independently examine, or re-examine exhibits.
When a body fluid is detected on an item and a DNA profile is obtained from an area of the staining, it is important that an expert opinion is given about whether or not the DNA originated from the body fluid detected. In many jurisdictions throughout Australia, this simply does not happen. An integral function of the services we provide are bridging this gap. Additionally we can provide the court with an understanding of what the overall body fluid and DNA findings mean in relation to the prosecution and defence accounts.