Measure the evidentiary value of forensic science testing to our medico-legal stakeholders.
Contribute to the general forensic science literature by publishing method validations, case reports, process improvements, wellness data, and quality assurance and organizational development strategies.
CFS-Wide Project Proposals
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Study of the effects of providing scientific expert witness testimony remotely versus in-person in Ontario courts: effectiveness, cost and efficiency.
Study of the effects of providing scientific expert witness testimony remotely versus in-person in Ontario courts: effectiveness, cost and efficiency.Background:
A recent RAND corporation publication https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR3200/RR3222/RAND_RR3222.pdf identified the need for research to better understand the effect of “telepresence technology” on court proceedings. Of specific interest are the experiences of witnesses and other court participants, identification of technical issues that influence the effectiveness of remote testimony, and the impact of this technology on the court in terms of efficiency and costs. The staggered implementation of remote testimony by the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) provides an opportunity to examine these issues.Research Objective:
To outline the approach taken by the CFS to provide scientific expert witness testimony remotely, and to compare the costs, efficiency, and effectiveness of this approach as compared to in-person testimony.Partnership Opportunity: Seeking a partner to compile, examine, and analyse existing data from the CFS regarding the use of video testimony and in-person testimony by its staff for court proceedings within the province of Ontario. Multiple data sources are available for possible examination:
- Overview of CFS approach to video testimony, including training provided to staff, equipment setup, use and maintenance, communication with and education for courts, and use of video testimony agreements
- Information on CFS use of video testimony over time, and comparison with use of in-person testimony. Information available for compilation includes: # of court “attendances” in-person and by video, # of court testimonies in person and by video, information on the type of court cases for which video testimony has been provided, and limited data regarding costs associated with video and in-person court attendance
- data comparing the number of court attendances and testimonies in a specific courthouse before and after implementation of a video testimony agreement.
- data comparing the number of court attendance and testimonies for the northern part of the province which predominantly uses video testimony, versus that of the southern part of the province which predominantly uses in-person testimony
- Limited results to date comparing the number of court attendances and testimonies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with those after court proceedings resumed in the province. With the resumption of courts, the CFS implemented default remote testimony provision.
- Comparison of anonymized “court attendance letters” which include feedback from crown and/or defence attorneys regarding the quality of testimony and witness availability. These have been obtained for both in-person and remote testimonies.
The partner must have prior experience and expertise in data compilation, examination and analysis, including identification of data limitations. The partner must be willing and able to identify the most probative data for analysis, compile relevant information from multiple sources of raw data, and act as the prime author for manuscript preparation.Resources Available:
CFS will provide the raw data for analysis, make knowledgeable staff available to explain the CFS approach to video testimony, provide relevant documents, and to assist with subject expertise during manuscript preparation.
|CFS Project Lead
|Dr. Amy Peaire & Janice Hellman
|Trent University and Ontario Tech University
|Rhonda Smith (Trent U) & Dr. Cecilia Hageman (OTU)
Preparedness of the Ontario Criminal Justice system to Accept Evaluative Reporting in Forensic Expert Reporting and Testimony
Preparedness of the Ontario Criminal Justice system to Accept Evaluative Reporting in Forensic Expert Reporting and TestimonyBackground:
As the CFS navigates the use of Evaluative Reporting in casework, it is critical to understand early in the development phase whether members of the Ontario courts (lawyers, judges, juries) are aware of the principles of evaluative reporting, and to what extent they are prepared to accept this type of reporting and testimony in court proceedings. The results of this study would inform the development of evaluative reporting at CFS, and stakeholder involvement at the outset is considered integral to the process. For further background information read, An introductory guide to evaluative reporting in forensic science, Catoggio, D et.al., Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2019, Vol. 51, Issue Sup1, pp. S247-S251.Research Objective:
Survey members of the justice community to measure awareness and understanding of the principles of evaluative reporting and explore attitudes with respect to this new approach to forensic reporting. Use tools such as town hall meetings or one-on-one interviews if needed.Partnership Opportunity:
Assist the CFS as it moves toward evaluative reporting as a means to deal with uncertainty and provide a balanced approach to evidence interpretation. Properly applied, cognitive bias can be minimised. Contribute to the growing literature on this critical subject.Resources Required:
Expertise with conducting surveys. Statistical interpretation of data.Resources Available:
CFS data sources and connections to clients and stakeholders.
|CFS Project Lead
|D. Bagby, T. Brutzki, A. Lacalamita & P. Solbeck
|Ontario Tech University
|Dr. Cecilia Hageman