Press release

New series explores links between science and justice

Published on 15 March 2019

Could you be tried for shooting a gun you’ve never touched? Does DNA always hold the answer? These are some of the questions to be answered at a new series of events allowing members of the public to learn about forensic science while relaxing in the pub.

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Crime Cafe, created and hosted by the University of Dundee’s Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) is an informal, open event for discussions about science within the justice system. The events will be held at Clarks on Lindsay Street over the next few months.

The inaugural Crime Café, ‘Lord Lovat’s last resting place’, takes place on Tuesday 26 March and will be led by Dr Lucina Hackman, a researcher at LRCFS.

Dr Hackman was part of a team of forensic experts who last year turned Scottish history on its head when they discovered that human remains long believed to belong to notorious Jacobite Clan Chief Lord Lovat were actually those of an unknown headless woman. Dr Hackman will explain a little about the identification process and what the discovery means for those searching for Lord Lovat’s last resting place.

“Crime Café is a fantastic opportunity to talk about the work of forensic science with a public audience,” she said. “We hope these discussions will bring to life the realities of forensic science and the challenges we face and, at future events, explore the relationship between science and the law”

The event will be followed up by ‘Could you be tried for shooting a gun you’ve never touched?’ on Tuesday 23 April. This talk will see Brian McConnachie QC and Dr Hervé Ménard explain how gunshot residue can be found miles away from the original crime scene, the legal implications of this, and how the public can get involved with research to solve issues of evidence transfer.

The third Crime Café talk will ask ‘Does DNA always hold the answer?’ In it, Alex Prentice QC and Dr Alexander Gray will discuss how the presence or lack of DNA at a crime scene doesn’t always reveal a clear perpetrator or exonerate a suspect while covering examples of legal importance and what current research might mean for future cases.


Press Office, University of Dundee