Lords to hear evidence on the role of digital forensics in the Criminal Justice System

Over two evidence sessions on Tuesday 27th November the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee will question forensic scientists from a variety of small and medium sized private providers, as well as the Metropolitan Police and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, for its inquiry into the use of forensic science and its contribution to the delivery of justice.

In the first session, the Committee will explore the role of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences as a voice for the sector. It will also investigate the way in which different private providers view the current system of accreditation.

In the second session the Committee will explore what is being done to prepare for the increasing role of digital forensics and the level of understanding of digital forensic science within the Criminal Justice System.

The Session will begin at 3:25pm in Committee Room 4A of the House of Lords. Giving evidence will be:

  • Dr Anya Hunt, CEO, Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • Mr Angus Marshall, Director and Principal Scientist, n-gate Ltd
  • Dr David Schudel, Forensic scientist, Keith Borer Consultant

Questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • Is the Criminal Justice System being equipped with robust, accurate and transparent forensic science?
  • What are differences between what forensic science provision is available to the prosecution and defence?
  • What are the risks of a market approach (for example what happens if a provider goes out of business) and what is the impact on admissibility, reliability and credibility of forensic science evidence?
  • What is the level of understanding of forensic science within the Criminal Justice System amongst lawyers, judges and juries?

The second session will begin at 4.25pm and the Committee will question:

  • Mr Mark Stokes, Head of Digital, Cyber & Communications Forensics Unit, Metropolitan Police
  • Dr Jan Collie, Managing Director and Senior Forensic Investigator, Discovery Forensics
  • Professor Peter Sommer, Professor of Digital Forensics, Birmingham City University

Questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • What is the level of understanding of digital forensic science within the Criminal Justice System amongst lawyers, judges and juries?
  • What role do technological solutions, such as machine learning, have in dealing with large amounts of data from digital devices?
  • How can the privacy of complainants and witnesses be protected, while also securing the necessary digital evidence for successful prosecutions, or exonerations?
  • Where are the gaps in research and understanding of digital forensic science?

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