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Forensic Podiatry Sessions

Forensic Podiatry Sessions

Forensics - Dr Sarah Reel and Selina Reidy.jpg

Gordon Burrow

There were two sessions from the Forensic Podiatry Special Advisory Group. The first session saw three speakers present on a number of topics that impinge on the area of expert witness work in forensic podiatry.

The first speaker was Sean Murphy, an image analyst, who gave an interesting overview of some of the issues to be considered by anyone involved in image analysis such as in gait analysis or bare footprint or footwear work, where photographs or video evidence may be presented. Is the image a fact or could it be an illusion? The angle of view, the resolution of the image, the lens and the focal distance of the lens to the subject can all make a difference to what can be seen.

This was followed by an interesting presentation by Dr Orlando Trujilo Buena on what we can learn from emotions and gait. Dr Orlando gave an insight into how emotions can be controlled and how we may not be able to tell some one’s emotions from their gait features.

This was followed by Prof Atholl Johnston who used case studies to highlight how statistics can be used and misused in real case work and the need for the population that is used to be defined properly before statistics can be used meaningfully

The second session pulled together three podiatrists who clearly demonstrated their expertise in both the criminal and civil justice systems.

Haydn Kelly began the session by outlining forensic gait analysis and what can be involved. This was followed by Simon Costain who outlined where forensic podiatry can be used in the civil justice system in cases of negligence or personal injury. Both Haydn and Simon hold the Cardiff University Bond Solon Certificate in expert witness work, regarded as the ‘Gold Standard’ in expert witness certification. This was followed by Barry Francis outlining the various areas of expert witness work and the need for separate insurance and training for this role. 

Each of these were seen as ‘taster’ sessions, allowing those interested in forensic work to understand the range of areas within the various judicial systems (criminal, civil, family and other arenas) as well as the need for training as an expert witness.

A further practical session on Saturday where Sarah Reel and Selina Reidy ran a workshop on bare footprints rounded off the forensic sessions.