x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Prosecutors and judges get lessons about CSI: Abu Dhabi

The judicial department and attorney general's office launch a campaign to train judges and prosecutors in handling forensic evidence.

ABU DHABI // Judges and prosecutors have been given an insight into how America's law enforcement authorities handle murder crime scenes. Kent Mortimore, a former chief deputy district attorney in the US state of Oregon, shared his experiences as part of a campaign to train court officials to handle forensic evidence and question crime scene management, launched by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department and the attorney general's office.

Crime scene investigations now use the latest technologies to piece together the truth behind crimes. In his address, Mr Mortimore, as adviser to the attorney general's office in the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, emphasised the importance of crime scene preservation as integral to the evidence being submitted to the court. But he also stressed the importance of prosecutors' presence at a crime scene.

The Abu Dhabi forensics evidence department operates under the Abu Dhabi Police. Once a crime is committed, the police crime scene unit scours the scene, gathering the necessary evidence to submit to the forensic evidence department. A report is submitted to the courts or to the relevant government department. Once in court, judges and lawyers can request the presence of a forensics expert for cross-examination to test their findings.

In a report by The National last month on the Abu Dhabi Forensics Evidence Department, it emerged that while the technology used by the forensic team was on a par with that in the most advanced countries, judges and defence lawyers lacked training in how to scrutinise the evidence put in front of them. Mr Mortimore's lecture was the start of an effort to provide the judiciary with sufficient knowledge to weigh up such scientific evidence.

The Abu Dhabi Police College has also established a crime scene training village in which current and future police officers are taught how to preserve and manage a crime scene in a way that does not contaminate the evidence later presented in court. myoussef@thenational.ae