FORENSIC IDENTIFICATION AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHL324400
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
Trimester
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

LAW: Level 1 module 'Criminal law and evidence' or equivalent SOC SCI: Level 3 module 'Evidence and Justice' or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module provides students with an overview of the legal and criminological setting for expert identification evidence. The syllabus covers a range of forensic types, and places them in their broader legal, criminological and social contexts. The module familiarises students with the relevance, admissibility and competence of identification evidence in criminal cases, but also examines contemporary issues in criminology as they relate to identification evidence in Scotland and elsewhere.

Syllabus

Students will be introduced to the following aspects of identification evidence through weekly lectures: -360b7 Legal Framework for Identification and Expert Evidence b7 DNA Profiling b7 Fingerprint Evidence b7 Glass and Fibre Fragments b7 Handwriting Analysis b7 Trace Evidence b7 Dog Tracking & CCTV b7 Voice analysis b7 Identification of Human Remains b7 Visual Identification Methods b7 Identification Parades b7 Jury Directions b7 Novel Identification Techniques b7 Contemporary Issues in Forensic Science The tutorial programme also covers miscarriages of justice; the Criminal Cases Review Commission; landmark forensic cases in criminology; victimology; and DNA policing; within the Scottish criminal justice system and elsewhere.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:· Evaluate and apply the rules relating to the relevance and admissibility of identification evidence in Scotland and a range of common law jurisdictions· Identify the scientific issues arising from the use of identification evidence in a forensic context· Appraise and synthesise legal, criminological and scientific concepts so as to construct a persuasive argument using recognise sources in justifying their application to a given set of facts· Communicate confidently on a range of identification evidence-related legal, criminological and forensic matters including miscarriages of justice· Update their acquired knowledge in order to keep pace with changes in relevant areas of science, criminology and lawand: · Identify and retrieve up to date legal information using paper and electronic repositories · Use primary and secondary legal sources which are relevant to the topic under study and current at the point of assessment · Present knowledge and information using sources to support arguments and conclusions · Provide recognised methods of citation and reference· Identify accurately and formulate clearly the legal issues to be researched· Undertake independent research (both paper-based and electronic) in areas of law which have not been previously studied, using paper and electronic repositories to research new topics without reference to a reading list

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module will be delivered via a combination of lectures, online presentations, tutorials and directed learning. There are two compulsory hours of lectures per week, over a twelve week period. Lectures will comprise a combination of face-to-face teaching and online learning, and will commence in week one. During the semester, time will be made during lectures to discuss assessments and to guide students in the preparation and writing of the assessed coursework. There are four tutorials per semester, each of one hour duration. These tutorials examine the principal criminological issues concerning forensic identification and require students to complete independent legal research and prescribed reading prior to attending. Students are also required to prepare a casebook plan, midway through the semester, so that feedback can be given on an individual basis to help form the large coursework assessment (casebook), which is due at the end of semester. The casebook is a critical essay on an aspect of forensic identification chosen by the student. It requires the student to choose, analyse and compare at least two forensic identification methods/issues and utilise caselaw and scientific sources to authoritatively critique the area. An empirical research project examining criminal appeals and miscarriages of justice will provide students will a range of cases to support their final piece of assessment and produce an overview of the issues raised in the appeal courts. This will be supported by the tutorials where small groups will share data with the entire cohort.

Indicative Reading

Scanned chapters and recent journal articles will be provided on GCUlearn for each topic to encourage engagement with contemporary literature. -360b7 Bogan, Identification: investigation, trial and scientific evidence , Legal Action Group, 2004 b7 Blackie, Evidence & Proof in the Scottish Legal Process , Dundee University Press, (Feb 2012) b7 Chalmers & Ross, Walker and Walker: The Law of Evidence in Scotland , Tottell, 3 rd ed, 2009 b7 Hostettler, The Criminal Jury Old and New , Waterside Press, 2004 b7 National Academy of Sciences, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward , 2009 b7 Newburn, Criminology , Cullompton: Willan, 2007 b7 Jackson & Jackson, Forensic Science , Prentice Hall, 3 rd ed, 2011 b7 James & Nordby, Forensic Science, An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques , CRC Press, 2009 b7 Raitt, Evidence: Principles, Policy and Practice , W Green, 2011 b7 Speight, The Scientist or Engineer as an Expert Witness , CRC press, 2009 b7 Stone, Cross-Examination in Criminal Trials, Tottell,3 rd ed, 2009

Transferrable Skills

Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement and Evaluation: The ability to identify issues, assimilate, evaluate and analyse information to construct written or oral solutions to a problem by bringing together and integrating relevant information, and selecting key material, from a variety of different sources. The ability to present arguments for and against propositions, acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Preparing for and participating in lectures and tutorials b7 Preparing for and delivering group and individual responses in lectures and tutorials b7 Preparing for and delivering casebook plan and the critical casebook Personal Management, Independence and Ability to Learn: The ability to organise and prioritise effectively the expenditure of time and effort in the performance of all aspects of student work. The ability to learn effectively and be aware of their own learning strategies; to manage their own learning development and to reflect upon their learning, seeking and making use of feedback. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Preparing the casebook plan b7 Consolidating material delivered at lectures and tutorials b7 Supplementing delivered material with additional reading b7 Reflecting on lecture, handout and self-searched material b7 Preparing for and participating in group meetings and other group activities b7 Preparing for and participating in lectures and tutorials b7 Preparing for and delivering critical essay Communication and Literacy: The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices in an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus on key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic within the prescribed time frame. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing (and, where appropriate, by the use of electronic means) using the English language accurately by creating work which is comprehensible to the intended audience. The ability to create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive using appropriate terminology and recognised methods of citation and reference. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Consolidating material delivered at lectures and tutorials b7 Supplementing delivered material with additional reading b7 Reflecting on lecture, handout and self-searched material b7 Preparing for and participating in group meetings and other group activities b7 Preparing for and delivering coursework b7 Reflecting on feedback from group and individual presentations, coursework and casebooks b7 Preparing for and delivering group presentations b7 Preparing for and delivering critical casebook Numeracy, Information, Technology and Teamwork Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format. The ability to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information; and exchange documents by E-mail. The ability to work productively and cooperatively in different kinds of groups; to establish working relations with others, defining, sharing and delegating responsibilities within the group. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: -360b7 Consolidating material delivered at lectures and tutorials b7 Supplementing delivered material with additional reading b7 Preparing for and participating in group meetings and other group activities b7 Preparing for and delivering group presentations Preparing for and delivering critical casebook

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 60.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 104.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 80.00 n/a Critical casebook (3500 word extended essay)
Coursework 1 n/a 20.00 n/a Research plan (500-word summary)