n South African Law Journal - Blind justice? Forensic science and the use of closed circuit television images as identification evidence in South Africa
|Article Title||Blind justice? Forensic science and the use of closed circuit television images as identification evidence in South Africa|
|© Publisher:||Juta Law Publishing|
|Journal||South African Law Journal|
|Affiliations||1 University of New South Wales, Australia and 2 University of Fort Hare|
|Publication Date||Jan 2014|
|Pages||109 - 148|
This article reviews the standard legal responses to forensic science and medicine evidence in South Africa. Using the example of the interpretation of closed circuit television ('CCTV') images of an armed robbery to identify the alleged offenders, we explore the deficiencies in contemporary forensic practice in light of recent international inquiries and recommendations and evaluate the corresponding limitations with trials, appeals and legal personnel in South Africa. We argue that greater attention needs to be paid to the reliability of opinions characterised as 'expert' before they are admitted and relied upon in criminal proceedings. We suggest that prosecutors, judges and defence lawyers should be more attentive to demonstrable evidence, preferably independent scientific studies, that confirm abilities and provide empirical support for the opinions expressed by those recognised by courts as experts.
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