Being fond of finding out why and how things work, and equally fond of reading, writing and speaking, I undertook dual qualifications in Science (being awarded a University Medal for chemistry, Hons Class I) and in Law (Hons Class I).
I was then given the opportunity to work with Professors Eric Magnusson and James Robertson, undertaking PhD research examining how well real juries in criminal trials comprehend scientific evidence. (The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is 'not very well', though the reasons are fascinating and many.) This extensive programme of empirical research with real jurors and mock jurors was facilitated by an excellent network of curious minds in the judiciary and legal profession of the Australian Captial Territory, including the Supreme Court there. My PhD research also included empirical work with forensic scientists from all seven states and territories of Australia, and work with the National Institute of Forensic Science.
My later research (both in Australia and the UK) has focused on the metamorphosis of forensic science into expert evidence, and the use of that evidence by juries, the judiciary and the legal profession. In particular I am interested in the scientific foundations of evidence, and the way in which it is utilised in criminal proceedings.
My ongoing research agenda and scientific knowledge has had the benefit of being exposed to the 'coal face', through working on scientific evidence for the defence at The Forensic Institute in Glasgow. Researching and reflecting on the law and science in action remains an enduring focus of mine.
More recently, at the University of Strathclyde, I have the privilege of working with the Law Clinic and Law School to provide Clinical Legal Education to our students, and access to justice for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
I also teach criminal law, the law of evidence, and ethics and justice, as well as supervising Honours, Masters and PhD students in these areas.