These required passages are notably absent from many of the crown expert reports that we see and are asked to review. Although many of these reports are served on behalf of the crown we urge you as a defence solicitor to be mindful that the expert you instruct includes these necessary statements in their reports. Otherwise there is a very real chance that the judge could refuse to allow the evidence to be used in court.
“Unless the parties otherwise agree or the court directs, a party may not introduce in evidence an expert report if the expert does not give evidence in person.” (19.3, 4b)
As I outlined earlier, many crown experts in cases involving injury causation are hospital doctors, highly trained in the preservation of human life. They are not trained in court presentation skills, may not have participated in numerous trials and their opinions are not subjected to the rigour of cross-examination on a regular basis. For the defence this presents an opportunity.
At Forensic Access we use the expertise of a Forensic Pathologist to comment on how the injuries in the case may have been caused. This is something that Forensic Pathologists study and specialise in and cannot be replicated by non-forensic experts without the necessary training. Their daily casework consists of assessing injuries in the deceased and the living.
In each individual case they use their considerable experience to analyse the information provided to them. And to draw conclusions that can assist the jury in deciding which is the more likely scenario of those presented in court. In cases with no witnesses such as domestic abuse, this expert opinion is invaluable.
All Forensic Access expert reports comply with the criminal procedure rules in terms of their content as we believe it is paramount that such vital information is provided in an appropriate format for court.
The expert Forensic Pathologists we work with have given evidence at hundreds of criminal trials, are well versed in presenting and justifying their opinion when cross-examined. In addition they can provide questions to put to the crown expert and identify areas to challenge in their report over and above what I have laid out here.
I hope this article has given you some points to consider when choosing an expert to provide a mechanism of injury report for use in a criminal trial.