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Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Bodies of Evidence (BIO315)

Organisational Unit Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description TThis capstone unit integrates information derived from earlier forensic units by focusing on the investigation of homicide. It discusses and integrates evidence derived from five key modules: forensic pathology; forensic anthropology; forensic botany; forensic entomology and crime scene investigation and applies the knowledge to the investigation of a murder case. Students are required to generate expert testimony reports and to present evidence from the case in a moot court. Protocols for the collection and presentation of evidence are emphasised.
Unit Learning Outcomes KNOWLEDGE
1. To gain knowledge and understanding of the operation of the Criminal Court system in Western Australia, particularly in relation to the rules of evidence and to the presentation of expert testimony.
2. To gain knowledge and understanding of the morphology and dispersal patterns of pollen and the applicability of palynological investigation to forensic science and crime investigation
3. To gain knowledge and understanding of post-mortem changes and the processes of decomposition, putrefaction and mummification particularly in relation to time of death estimation
4. To acquire knowledge, understanding and recognition of the major causes of injury and death including blunt and sharp force trauma; gunshot wounds; asphyxia; electrocution and incineration.
5. To gain knowledge of the principles of estimation of the biographic parameters, sex, age, ancestry and stature, from the skeleton

6. To gain practical experience in the Russian method of facial approximation as an aid in the identification of skeletal remains
7. To gain practical experience in assessing the value of palynological, evidence in simulated crimes
8. To gain experience in the recognition of patterned injuries and the weapons responsible for producing them
9. Through an investigation of a complex murder case to gain practical experience in writing an expert testimony report and to deliver the evidence, orally, in a Moot Court in Evidence in Chief and Cross Examination modes
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures/Workshops: 40 hours over 9 teaching weeks plus 20 hours in an intensive Forensic Pathology module in the first non-teaching week; Laboratories 12 hours over 10 weeks. Timetabled Tests: 3 hours over 10 weeks. Total formal contact per student is 75 hours over 10 weeks
Unit Learning Experiences The approach to learning in this unit is directed at providing practical applications for the forensic techniques associated with the investigation of crime by drawing on new material and on material presented in earlier core units, and then placing the information in the context of crime scene investigation, prosecution and the subsequent evaluation of the evidence in Court.

Structured timetabled-learning in lectures, workshops and laboratories provides the integrated knowledge needed to investigate crime scenes; to determine the probative value of evidence and to prepare expert testimony reports which conform to the Code of Conduct relevant to the District and Supreme Courts of WA. Students receive regular feedback on laboratory reports and tests.

Self-directed activities conducted by groups of 2-3 students, focus on the generation of those reports and on the oral delivery of the testimony in Court. The testimony reports are centred on the investigation of a complex murder case which underpins the unit and which draws on the integrated material presented. This ultimately results in the apprehension of a suspected perpetrator and the prosecution of the accused in a moot court at the end of the unit. In Court, students are cross-examined by Barristers and receive immediate constructive feedback on their performance in the written reports and on the oral delivery of the evidence, as a component of the Court process.
Assessment Assessment tests mastery of the theoretical and practical knowledge contained within each of the 5 modules that underpin the murder case, central to the unit. Assessment focuses on the application of forensic knowledge to crime scene investigation and the capacity to communicate that knowledge in a courtroom environment: 3 one-hour module tests (45%); 2 laboratory reports (15%); Group expert testimony report (25%); Group court testimony (15%). There is no final examination. Marked laboratory reports are returned and oral feedback from the Judge and Barristers is provided to each Group on the expert testimony reports and the oral delivery of that testimony during the Moot Court. Each student is invited to review the marked module tests, individually, with the unit co-ordinator.
Prerequisites PEC103/CHE103 Introduction to Forensic Science; BIO282 Molecular Biology
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed BIO215 Bodies of Evidence may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Criminology + Forensic Biology and Toxicology [Combined] (BCrim)+(BSc)
Forensic Biology and Toxicology (BSc) [New in 2020]
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


Unit Coordinator
Mr Brendan Chapman
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 2270
e: Brendan.Chapman@murdoch.edu.au
o: 260.2.013 - Building 260, Murdoch Campus
Unit Contacts

MURDOCH: S2-Internal
Mr Brendan Chapman
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science

Murdoch Campus
t: 9360 2270
e: Brendan.Chapman@murdoch.edu.au
o: 260.2.013 - Building 260, Murdoch Campus
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