Colin Campbell Ross–Australia’s first major forensic hair case. Have we learned the lessons from the past?


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Colin Campbell Ross was hanged in 1922 for the murder of 12 year old Alma Tirtschke and pardoned by the Governor of Victoria in 2007. This paper tells the story of how forensic hair examination played a central and pivotal role in both the conviction and the subsequent pardon. The paper also considers whether or not the mistakes made in the original forensic examination could be made today given the limited approach used in the hair examination protocols followed by many contemporary forensic organisations. The paper argues that there is still a place for a criminalistics approach to the examination of hairs that requires a higher level of microscopic examination than in routine practice today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-279
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date27 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019


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