The Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) is holding its 2018 conference and AGM in Gatineau, QC. I’m happy about that because it’s in my own backyard, so to speak.

CSFS conferences vary in their quality and content but this year is looking pretty good.  For example,  the keynote speaker is Dr. Claude Roux whose presentation is entitled ‘Will Forensic Science Reach the End of the Crossroads Soon?’  That’s a tremendous question.  How would you answer it?  Dr. Roux is sure to have an interesting perspective to share with us. 

As part of the action several workshops are planned for the event, including the following that I would like to mention:

Monday April 30th:

  • The Bar and the Bench – (full day) – Presenter: Tobin Tanaka. Here are details for this workshop:

Title: The Bar and the Bench
Synopsis: This educational one day symposium is intended to provide an opportunity for members of the bar, bench and forensic scientists to discuss a variety of topics relating to the interaction of forensic science and the legal system.

It is intended that this symposium will permit the possibility for a free exchange of how the forensic sciences can assist all parties in the legal system, in particular the courts. As the courts are the ultimate client and consumer of the proffered forensic evidence, insights from the bench on how forensic reports and testimony may provide truly expert evidence would be most welcome.

The first part (morning session) of the symposium provides an overview of those forensic disciplines represented by the CSFS, each providing a 15 minute overview of their respective specialization. The forensic disciplines include: Anthropology / Medical Odontology, Biology, Chemistry, Documents, Engineering, Firearms and Toxicology.

In each overview the scope and foundation, education, training and research for each forensic discipline will be provided. Specifically, how these factors may be considered in the admissibility of expert evidence under the four part criteria of R. v. Mohan, the reporting of findings, and the weight of admitted forensic expertise will discussed.

The second part (afternoon session) will be a discussion between the legal community and forensic scientists. The topics of best practices, the interaction that counsel has with forensic scientists, and court room testimony are anticipated areas of discussion.

All forensic scientists, lawyers, judges, students and other stakeholders in the justice system are welcome to participate in this workshop.

  • Theory of the logical approach to evidence evaluation  (full day) – Presenter: Brent Ostrum. Here are details for this workshop:

Title: “Theory of the logical approach to evidence evaluation”

Objectives: At the end of the workshop participants will have a working knowledge of the logical approach to evidence evaluation. They will understand how the approach works and the requirements for its application, and also be able to explain pros, cons and limitations.

Synopsis: This workshop presents the logical approach to evidence evaluation and discusses this approach contrasting it to the ‘traditional’ approach used in most labs today. Distinctions between the logical approach, the likelihood-ratio approach and a Bayesian approach will be explored. Pros, cons and requirements for the proper use of each approach, including the ‘traditional’ approach, will be discussed. The present scientific and legal status of the logical approach, both worldwide and in Canada, will be addressed with discussion of various initiatives in other countries that can be expected to have an impact on the Canadian scene. There is a strong lecture component to the workshop however it is also interactive in that participants will discuss various issues in smaller working groups, as appropriate. Participants will be tested to determine whether or not the basic information has been learned. This session is aimed primarily at forensic practitioners (in any discipline) but will be of value to anyone interested in the topic (e.g., lawyers, judges). Examples are drawn primarily from forensic document examination, but not exclusively, and the general concepts apply equally to all domains and disciplines.

Keywords: evaluation, conclusions, logical approach, forensic expertise
Notes:  Attendance limited to 25 persons maximum. No prior training or knowledge of the topic is required but there will be some required, preparatory readings (a list of recommended readings will be provided prior to the workshop). This workshop (or equivalent prior training/knowledge) is a pre-requisite for the second workshop described below.

Note that the above workshop has been pre-approved for ABFDE recertification points (3 per ½ day so 6 in total).

Tuesday May 1st:

  • Application of the logical approach for forensic handwriting casework – (full day).  Presenter: Brent Ostrum. Here are details for this workshop:

Title: “Application of the logical approach for forensic handwriting casework”

Objectives: At the end of the workshop participants will understand and be able to apply the logical approach to evidence evaluation in forensic document/handwriting casework.

Synopsis: The workshop covers the hands-on, practical application of the logical approach to evidence evaluation. Participants require a good working knowledge of the theory and concepts relevant to the logical approach (see notes below). They will be provided with an examination process map and relevant worksheets to facilitate their practical work. Various case examples are drawn from the forensic handwriting and documents domain and will be completed by participants. Working in small groups they will complete the various phases of the examination process from beginning to end. This will include setting of propositions, exploration of expectations, evaluation of the findings, and determination of an appropriate conclusion/opinion. Key aspects of report writing will be discussed and there will be discussion of presentation of the results and testimony; however the latter will depend upon time-availability.
This workshop is aimed primarily at practicing forensic document/handwriting examiners.

Keywords: evaluation, conclusions, logical approach, forensic handwriting
Notes: Attendance limited to 25 persons maximum.  Participation requires completion of workshop 1 (i.e., “Theory of the logical approach to evidence evaluation” – see earlier post) or equivalent prior training/experience. For the latter, participation will be permitted solely at the instructor’s discretion after review of participant’s background in this topic.  Contact me for more information.

Note that the above workshop has been pre-approved for ABFDE recertification points (3 per ½ day so 6 in total).


The cost for each full-day workshop is $160 and that will include  an in-session lunch.  Participation in the workshops DOES NOT require conference registration.  Registration info and rates can be found on the CSFS site.

There are other workshops aside from these ones but, in my not-so-humble opinion, these are particularly interesting and important.  It’s unfortunate that the first two conflict in timing but that’s how the schedule worked out.

Hope to see you there!!


Promotional PDFs – for viewing or download:

Workshop 1:

CSFS_Advert_Workshop-Theory-of-the-logical-approach

Workshop 2:

CSFS_Advert_Workshop-Application-of-the-logical-approach

 

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