A century of science in Australian criminal trials

Marcus Smith, Gregor Urbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of scientific evidence in Australian criminal trials has a long history. This article considers criminal appeals involving forensic science from 1922 through to the present day, noting its role in contentious cases, including the factors involved, with a view to improving post-conviction review options and improvements in the way science is used in criminal trials. Miscarriages of justice are considered through a discussion of the relevant facts and procedural issues involved in six key cases of exoneration in Australia. Options for correcting wrongful convictions are examined, including a comparison of criminal appeals, followed by some analysis of further review options. The article then proceeds to consider opportunities for reform, including an effective approach implemented in the United Kingdom, and recent academic commentary on the issue, before discussing a national approach in Australia to address the need for an effective, uniform approach and other strategies to improve the use of forensic science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Bar Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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