x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

CSI summit in Abu Dhabi discusses forensic education plan for judges

Abu Dhabi Police forensic section unveils a plan to educate judges to help them better unravel technical evidence presented in court.

ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Police forensic section will train judges to help them better understand technical evidence in the courtroom, police said yesterday.

"We have new updated procedures and we expanded our lab and services, and [judges] need to be aware of that so they can solve the case in a correct way," said Lt Col Nawal al Katheeri, the manager of the forensic chemistry branch.

Dr al Katheeri said in the coming weeks, police and legal officials would discuss the challenges they faced, then set up a plan for the training programmes.

Dr Ann Priston, the president of the Forensic Science Society in the UK, said a lack of understanding of forensic work and crime scene investigation was a universal problem. "You can't teach judges and lawyers how forensics work, or forensic officials how judges and lawyers work. All we can do is create awareness and teach each other our strengths and weaknesses," she said.

Anwar Siddiqi, a forensic expert with Abu Dhabi Police, said exchange training between forensic and legal officials was needed.

"The relationship between forensics and the jury is very close; we can't work without each other, but we don't know anything about one another," Mr Siddiqi said.

"The idea is that we as forensic scientists are asked by jury and prosecutors to speak in simple language, because they are not forensic experts so they cannot understand our technical terms."

He said that, for instance, scientists could repeat the information a couple of times to simplify it. He suggested that legal courses should also be given to forensic and CSI officials. "I would also like to know the legal steps - what will happen as a result of my findings."

Mr Siddiqi said he usually asked the lawyers with whom he worked about the legal process, and they provided him with the information he needed.