23 January 2007
An excellent programme went out on Monday evening highlighting the fact that many jurors are too heavily influenced by the evidence given at trials by expert witnesses. They showed how the recent surge in crime series' on TV, like CSI, affects the way viewers identify with forensic evidence. Forensic science has led to huge progress in solving crime and can be a very useful tool, but there is a risk that unrealistic portrayals in TV detective programmes seduce the public into believing it to be foolproof? There are growing concerns within legal circles that jurors' faith in forensic evidence can lead to miscarriages of justice. Indeed recent successful appeals are proof of this. So often the expert witness goes beyond his or her remit and neglect to tell the jury that the science is not exact. Because the jury are influenced by the qualifications spelt out before the evidence is given, they can be both baffled by the evidence and truly believe the expert to be telling the whole truth. Mere opinions are not good enough when a persons liberty is at stake!!