sample legal interview memo by tdelight

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									                      FORMAL MEMORANDUM
                         FSS-CCRC RELATIONS

Introduction

1. The Forensic Science Service (FSS) is a Public Body and recognises that
   it may be required to disclose documents and other material. The former
   Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (MPFSL) is now part of
   the FSS. The Commission’s policy and procedure for relations with
   Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI) are detailed in the formal
   memorandum entitled FSNI-CCRC relations.

Requests for Assistance

2. It has been agreed that all requests to the FSS for assistance will be
   directed to the Central Enquiry Unit.

3. Requests to the FSS may be for one of the following:

   a. the disclosure of documents or other evidential material held by the
      FSS, or

   b. general advice on the suitability of information contained in documents
      or other evidential material held by the FSS to assist the Commission
      with its enquiries, or

   c. professional advice or further work relating to cases in which the
      FSS/MPFSL may or may not have been previously involved.

4. It may be helpful to make the initial contact by telephone, but in any event,
   the Commission’s requirements must be set out clearly in writing. The
   Central Enquiry Unit will help ensure the requirements of the Commission
   are clear and will make an initial assessment of whether the FSS is likely
   to be able to comply or assist.




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5. Any further work requested may be:

    • a repeat of work already done which is now considered to be unsafe, or

   •   the application of new techniques which have greater sensitivity or
       discriminating power to material previously examined, or

   •   the examination of material not previously examined, which may be
       relevant to the safety of the conviction.

Ordering new work through FSS Legal Scientific Services

6. The Commission will not be charged for retrieval of case files and other
   evidential materials from storage for disclosure or for the provision of
   general advice, but it has been agreed that it will meet the costs incurred
   in providing professional advice or doing new work. Once an assessment
   of the work requested has been made the FSS Legal Scientific Service will
   provide the Commission with a quotation. Work will not commence until
   FSS Legal Scientific Services has received the Commission’s order
   number.

7. In cases where an Investigating Officer (IO) has been appointed under
   section 19 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 (s19) and assistance is
   required from the FSS, the IO should be advised to liaise directly with the
   Central Enquiry Unit. The IO should write to the Central Enquiry Unit
   setting out clearly the nature of the assistance required. Any such letter
   should be copied to the Commission. FSS Legal Scientific Services will
   send any quotation to the Commission and copy this to the IO. The
   Commission will meet the costs of any work carried out by the FSS in such
   cases and work will not commence until FSS Legal Scientific Services has
   received the Commission’s order number. It is important to liaise closely
   with the IO regarding work to be done by the FSS.

8. In any non s19 case where the Commission wishes to have an item in
   police possession examined by the FSS contact should be made with the
   Central Enquiry Unit and the work required discussed. Once the
   Commission has decided to go ahead and an order number has been sent
   to FSS Legal Scientific Services, the Central Enquiry Unit will identify the
   FSS laboratory to which the item should be sent. The police can then be
   asked to forward the item to the nominated FSS laboratory. The
   arrangements made with the Central Enquiry Unit should be confirmed in
   writing. The letter to the Central Enquiry Unit should be copied to the
   police with a request that a copy of the letter accompanies the item to the
   nominated FSS laboratory.

9. Where the original work was carried out by the FSS or MPFSL, any
   professional advice or further work will, wherever possible, be provided or
   undertaken by the scientist originally involved in the case, except where
   the original work is considered by the CCRC to be possibly unsafe when



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   an independent scientist, preferably from a different laboratory from the
   original scientist, will be used.

10. Where an examination of evidential material is required and this would
    result in the loss of or damage to the evidential material, the FSS will so
    advise the Commission. Consideration can then be given as to whether,
    given the circumstances of the case, it is appropriate to offer the applicant
    or his legal representative the opportunity to instruct a second expert to be
    present during the examination. The Commission will inform the FSS
    where this is the case and the FSS will then make the necessary
    arrangements with the independent expert direct.

11. Where the work for the Commission casts doubt on the original work, and
    this was undertaken by the FSS or MPFSL, the Central Enquiry Unit will
    liaise with the Commission over what further investigations or other action
    might be appropriate.

DNA

12. There will be occasions when the Commission asks the FSS to carry out
    work on material in order to obtain a DNA profile, which may identify the
    origin of that material. This is likely to occur in cases where, (i) the FSS
    was not able to obtain a DNA profile from the scene of crime material at
    the time of the original investigation, or (ii) a DNA profile was obtained, but
    it is now thought possible to obtain a more discriminatory result.

13. Where the FSS is able to obtain a DNA profile, or a more discriminatory
    profile, the implications of this for the review of the case must be fully
    considered. In some cases the FSS will be able to compare the new DNA
    profile with a profile obtained from original material provided by the
    applicant (i.e. blood sample taken at time of arrest). Where this is not
    possible the FSS will normally compare the new profile with the National
    DNA Database (NDNAD). Should there be a ‘hit’ the identity of the
    individual identified will be disclosed to the Commission. The FSS will, at
    the same time, notify all police forces concerned.

14. Where the Commission asks the FSS to carry out DNA work it will usually
    be because the applicant asserts that the scene of crime material in
    question did not originate from him. Should a comparison with a profile
    obtained from an original sample provided by the applicant, or a check
    against the NDNAD, show that the material appears to have originated
    from the applicant, it will not normally be necessary to obtain a further
    DNA sample from him. However, there may be cases where the applicant
    challenges the result obtained by comparing the new scene of crime
    profile with a profile obtained from an old sample provided by him, or
    against the NDNAD. Should this occur consideration would be given to
    obtaining a fresh DNA sample from the applicant. A DNA sample from the
    applicant will, of course, be required in any case where no original sample
    is held by the FSS and the applicant’s DNA profile is not held on the
    NDNAD.


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15. The NDNAD is not used by the FSS for evidential purposes. Where a
    suspect is identified from the NDNAD the police will obtain a fresh sample
    once the suspect has been arrested. Any evidence subsequently given by
    the FSS would refer only to the fresh sample. Whilst this has no direct
    bearing on the Commission’s work, it is important to understand how the
    NDNAD is normally used.

16. Where it is necessary to obtain a DNA sample from either the applicant
    and/or victim (victim’s relative) the FSS will provide a kit for a mouth swab.
    To obtain a mouth swab is a simple process and the FSS kit contains
    adequate instructions. Although Commission staff may obtain such
    samples it will often be more sensible (in order to avoid unnecessary
    travelling) to ask for a police officer or prison medical officer to take the
    sample. The mouth swab kit is supplied by FSS Legal Scientific Services
    and can be sent direct to a nominated police officer or prison medical
    officer.

17. There has been at least one occasion where it has been considered
    necessary to obtain a DNA sample from a person living abroad. Where
    this occurs consideration must be given as to who is best placed to obtain
    a DNA sample on the Commission’s behalf. Much will depend on the
    country concerned and the views of the person providing the sample. The
    kit provided by the FSS will always be used. Arrangements are likely to be
    made for the sample to be obtained by a police officer, doctor, or lawyer.
    In any event, care must be taken to ensure that the person providing the
    sample is properly identified and that there is evidence of continuity to
    cover the sample from the time it is taken until its arrival at the FSS.

18. NB. Any person providing a mouth swab as a DNA sample must first
    consent to doing so.

Interviews with FSS Scientists

19. On some occasions there is a need to conduct a formal interview with a
    forensic scientist employed by the FSS. A formal interview with a forensic
    scientist is one in which the Commission’s specific questions are put and
    the answers recorded, as opposed to a meeting where the scientific facts
    of the case and/or the possibilities for further scientific work are discussed.
    Arrangements for a formal interview with a forensic scientist should be
    made through the Central Enquiry Unit which is normally prepared to
    arrange for the forensic scientist to attend their offices in Birmingham for
    the purpose of a formal interview.

Priority Work

20. The FSS provides the police with a premium rate service for urgent work.
    Whilst the additional expense may only be justifiable on rare occasions,
    the premium rate service is available to the Commission subject to the
    FSS having the necessary resources available to carry out the work.


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