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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 01:56 GMT 02:56 UK
Trial expert witnesses reviewed
Court generic
The review will examine if courts are robust enough on expert evidence
The role of expert witnesses in trials is to be independently reviewed in an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission wants to see if lessons can be learned from convictions overturned due to flawed scientific or medical evidence.

Lawyer Bill O'Brien, of the University of Warwick, is to study some of the 7,300 cases referred to the commission.

He will examine whether experts are putting forward views that are implausible or too partisan.

This is the first time the commission, which examines potential miscarriages of justice, is opening up its files to somebody outside the organisation.

Mr O'Brien will also consider whether courts should be more robust about the expert evidence they allow to be heard.

He has cited the case of Mark Dallagher, who was convicted of murder on the basis of an ear print left at the scene, but cleared after seven years in jail when the reliability of that evidence was called into question.


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