Forensic Analysis and Legal Practice

Course code LAWS5012Units 10Level 5000Faculty of Business and LawNewcastle Law School

LAWS courses are only available to students enrolled in Bachelor of Laws (LAWS) degree programs.

Focuses on fact gathering and analysis and the application of law in both criminal and civil jurisdictions. The collection of evidence and its preparation for trial as well as its presentation at trial are important issues that are explored in depth in this course. Specific study areas include: crime scene investigation; police investigative techniques including interrogation methods; accident investigation; government agency investigation; coroner's inquests; analysis and use of expert evidence; physical evidence; postmortems; and the use of medical, psychiatric and psychological reports. This course critically examines relevant legislation, case law and government policy requirements.

This LAWS5012 elective course is offered on a rotating basis and subject to student demand.

Not available in 2014

Previously offered in 2006, 2005, 2004
ObjectivesThe objectives of the course is to

* equip students with knowledge of current theoretical and practical issues relating to the investigation of crimes.
* equip students with knowledge of current theoretical and practial issues relating to the investigation of civil cases.
*to develop the capacity of students to gather and analyse facts and apply relevant legal principles and statutory requirements.
*to develop the capacity of students to understand the requirement for a systematic and rigorous approach to all investigations.
*to enable students to understand the relationship between the presentation of a case in a court of law and the necessity for diligent and competent preparation prior to hearing.
ContentThe topics to be covered are:

Facts gathering and analysis - this is an introductory topic designed to place in context subsequent topics.

Crime Scene Examination - entry, search and seizure,security of scene, photography, video taping, photogrammetry and measurement, sketch plans, statement preparation and exhibition collection and security.

Accident Investigation - traffic accident investigation, traffice accident reconstruction and video simulations.

Fraud Investigation - documentation.

Insurance Investigation - the role of the insurance investigator and loss assessment.

Coroners Inquests - jurisdiction, legislation, procedures, relationship between coroner and forensic pathologists and death in custody.

Investigative Bodies - Police Integrity Commission, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Crime Commission, National Crime Authority and Royal Commissions.

Postmortems - Police role: examination of scene; report to the coroner; photography and avoidance of influence on findings. The role of forensic pathologists: attendance at the scene of death; police reports; autopsy; recording of observations; taking of samples for testing; report; identification issues and review of findings. If arrangemetns can be made students will have the opportunity of viewing an autopsy and attending lectures at the Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Children - interviewing children, abuse allegations, physical evidence, medical practitioners' reports, psychological reports and witness statements.

Sexual Assault - interviewing complainant, physical evidence, medical practitioners' reports and witness statements.

Taking of body samples and their use - DNA, fingerprints and body searches.

Firearms Examination - ballistics.

Document Examination.

The Role of Psychiatrists and Psychologists - the DSM IV, content of reports and presentation of evidence in court.
Replacing Course(s)N/A
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeLAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A, LAWS3004B, LAWS3005
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsResearch Paper
Presentations - IndividualOral presentation
Contact HoursLecture: for 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Requisite by EnrolmentThis course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs.