– The Singapore Academy of Law in collaboration with the Attorney‐General’s Chambers (“AGC”), Health Sciences Authority (“HSA”) and the Singapore Police Force (“SPF”) will organise the first public forum on forensic science on 8 – 9 October 2009. About 400 people from the legal, scientific and law enforcement community in Singapore and the region are expected to participate in this two‐day conference which will be opened by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.
“CJ first mooted this idea of a conference for the court, defence counsel and prosecution to get a better understanding of forensic sciences to appreciate the evidence presented and to fully cross‐examine witnesses in criminal cases,” said Ms Jennifer Marie, Principal Senior State Counsel and Chairperson of the Conference organising committee.
The organisers have put together an impressive line‐up of local and foreign speakers. World‐renowned forensic expert, Dr Henry Lee, will profile famous cases involving DNA evidence and touch on the finer points of crime scene reconstruction. Top Taiwanese forensic pathologist, Dr Shaw Kai‐Ping will share his insights on identification of victims in mass disaster scenarios such as the SQ006 crash in Taipei.
The conference will cover three broad themes: DNA in the Courtroom, CSI Effect on Forensics, Victim Identification in Mass Disasters, Forensic Psychiatry, and Forensic Evidence in Court. The various speakers will provide the judicial, prosecution and defence perspectives on these themes. The panel discussions will be chaired by the Attorney General Professor Walter Woon and several High Court judges namely Justice Tay Yong Kwang, Justice Choo Han Teck and Justice Chao Hick Tin, and former Judicial Commissioner, Mr Amarjeet Singh SC. “This is a rare opportunity for participants to hear from so many local and foreign experts in their own respective fields at a single conference,” said Ms Marie.
Forensic science has been used in prosecution and defence cases in Singapore since the set‐up of a food, drugs and toxicology laboratory in Hill Street in 1885. Singapore has a national database of DNA (called Combined DNA Identification System or CODIS). This system which is owned by the Singapore Police Force and managed by the Health Sciences Authority was officially launched on 14 July 2004.
ʺThe DNA Database has assisted police to provide leads in more than 370 cases to date. In our experience, DNA profiling has also helped expedite the identification of deceased persons who are decomposed beyond recognition, providing an important lead in investigations or closure in some instances.ʺ said SUPT Lim Seng Kim, Commandant of the School of Criminal Investigation, Criminal Investigation Department.
As the national expertise in forensic medicine and science and providing these services to the courts and law enforcement agencies, the HSA through its Applied Sciences Group deals with an average of 41,000 criminal cases a year. Increasingly, forensic evidence is used in the courts especially in criminal cases. On average, HSA forensic team appears in courts as expert witnesses in more than a hundred criminal cases a year. Recent high profile cases for which the HSA forensic team has presented vital evidence in High Court include: the Huang Na case, the Constance Chee case, the Liu Hong Mei (body parts) case, the One‐Eyed Dragon case and the Orchard MRT station body parts case.
Forensic science begins at the crime scene where physical evidence is recognised, preserved and collected. In the HSA laboratory, the forensic scientist carefully examines the evidence, so as to identify persons, substances, objects, contacts between them, and events and actions that transpired in a crime. The process culminates in the presentation of expert findings in court.
HSA offers a comprehensive range of forensic science services in trace evidence, marks and prints, DNA profiling, bloodstain pattern analysis, crime scene reconstructions, questioned documents, drugs, toxicology, as well as in forensic pathology.
ʺHSA forensic laboratories are equipped with state of the art instruments which provide highly sensitive, specific and reliable analysis. With a pool of trained forensic scientists, our laboratories are comparable to the best in the world and have been accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD/LAB) since June 1996,” said Dr Michael Tay, Director, Forensic Science Division, HSA.
In conjunction with the Forensics Conference, the organisers will also put up a small exhibition at the Supreme Court atrium. It will provide information and an interactive experience into this fascinating field of forensic science and its role in criminal investigations.
The exhibition is open to the public from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm on 8 October and from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on 9 October. Admission is free.
Conference fees inclusive of GST are as follows:
Singapore Academy of Law members: S$492.20
Non SAL members: S$599.20
Full time students (limited to 60 seats): S$128.40
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The Singapore Academy of Law is the umbrella body of the legal community in Singapore and has more than 7,000 members.
The Academy’s activities are driven by three strategic priorities – enhancing legal knowledge, improving efficiency of legal practice through the use of technology and supporting the legal industry. The work in each of these areas is directed towards raising the standards and quality of legal practice and building a strong legal community in Singapore.
Besides its role as the official law reporting agency in Singapore, the Academy’s other functions include providing continuing legal education for its members, legal publications, promoting legal research and scholarship, the reform and development of the law, and alternative dispute resolution.
The Health Sciences Authority ("HSA") applies medical, pharmaceutical and scientific expertise through its three professional groups, Health Products Regulation, Blood Services, Applied Sciences, to protect and advance national health and safety. HSA is a multidisciplinary authority. It serves as the national regulator for health products, ensuring they are wisely regulated to meet standards of safety, quality and efficacy. It operates the national blood bank, , securing the nation’s blood supply. It also applies specialised scientific, forensic, investigative and analytical capabilities in serving the administration of justice. For more details, visit .
The Applied Sciences Group of HSA represents the national expertise in forensic medicine and science, analytical testing and metrology in chemistry that supports regulatory and compliance agencies in the administration of justice and the safeguarding of public health. It provides a one‐stop forensic and consultancy service for criminal and medico‐legal investigations as well as civil disputes. It also runs analytical testing laboratories providing specialised scientific and investigative services to government agencies, healthcare institutions and private companies.
The Attorney‐General’s Chambers (“AGC”) plays a pivotal role in enhancing the rule of law and strengthening the efficiency and integrity of Singapore’s legal system. It also assists the Judiciary in the fair and impartial administration of justice in Singapore in carrying out its prosecutorial functions.
As the Government’s legal adviser in all aspects of public administration law, criminal law, international law, legislation and law reform, AGC provides a vast array of legal expertise for the good governance of Singapore.
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