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FNSC5622 Scientific Expert Testimony

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
The unit primarily consists of independent research into a topic in the field of forensic science (must be anthropology for the coursework Masters), supported by lectures and interactive workshops in criminal justice (two full days) and expert evidence (two full days). Students must also observe a real trial (or part of a trial) at the Magistrates, District or Supreme Court. Students are able to meet with the unit coordinators on several separate occasions. They also attend mock court exercises as observers. Upon arrangement with the lawyer leading their evidence-in-chief they may have the opportunity for a pre-trial meeting.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of relevant protocols for the handling, storage and transport of forensic skeletal evidence, and an appreciation of the consequences if these protocols are not adhered to; (2) convey a basic understanding of the key underlying theories and principles of forensic anthropology (for non-elective students ONLY); (3) describe the most common methods, protocols and technologies utilised in the field of forensic anthropology (for non-elective students ONLY); (4) identify alternative common methods available and their advantages and disadvantages; (5) explain the origins of the discipline of forensic anthropology and its range of applications to problems of a forensic nature, with particular emphasis on the problem presented in the case study; (6) describe the current state of the discipline and its acceptance in the law enforcement and legal communities; (7) acknowledge the current limitations of the discipline of forensic anthropology and how these may affect the interpretation of evidence; (8) understand the Australian legal system sufficiently to be able to present scientific or technical evidence in court; and (9) gain practical experience in conveying scientific or technical evidence to a lay person in both a written and oral format.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) expert evidence workshops; (2) expert court report; and (3) evidence submission/presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Daniel Franklin
Unit rules
FNSC5620 Expert Testimony Part 1, FNSC5621 Expert Testimony (Odontology) Part 1
Contact hours
workshops: 4 full days; mock court: 2 full days (1 as an observer, 1 assessed), practical work 2-3 hours per week.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.