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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

Opening Meeting of the 184th Session (2004-2005)

Helping the Police with their Enquiries
Has Crime Investigation Improved? - The Medical View

Professor Anthony Busuttil
O.B.E., M.O.M., M.D., F.R.C.Path., D.M.J.(Path.), F.R.C.P. (Edinburgh), F.R.C.P. (Glasgow), F.R.C.S.E.
Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine at Edinburgh University.

At the Royal Museum Lecture Theatre,
Chambers Street, Edinburgh
on Monday 22nd November 2004, at 7 pm
(Doors open 6:30pm)
Enter by the Lothian Street Door, at the rear of the museum

The role of the forensic doctor in crime investigation is as important now as it ever has been but, both in attendance at the actual crime scene and in the post-mortem room situation, the doctor has to work more closely than before with his colleagues in the laboratory. He has to make best use of the latest equipment and techniques that have become available and to ensure that all evidential material is collected in the most appropriate manner, with strict attention being given to avoiding any contamination of the samples collected.

The major, and continuing, advances in DNA technology over the last decade has revolutionised our approach to evidential material: smaller, less well preserved, and once 'useless' samples of cellular material can provide DNA profiles that can be matched against suspects and the DNA banks. Old, unsolved cases can be re-visited with excellent results. Hair analysis now enables retrospective drug assays. Fibre and soil analysis can trace contacts with certain locations while entomology can help determine the post-mortem interval and the cause of death. In the clinical situation the use of the colposcope has revolutionised our approach to the examination of child victims of abuse. All in all, very significant major advances have been made and the forensic doctor, in conjunction with his forensic science colleagues, is now in a better position to assist the police in their enquiries.

Professor Busuttil is Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and Forensic Medical Examiner to the Lothian and Borders Police Force. He is best known to the public as the pathologist who dealt with the horrors of the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and the Dunblane Primary School shooting. He has written 400 papers on pathological topics and the textbook 'Suspicious Death Scene Investigation'.

Location of meeting

Members of the Public are welcome to attend

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary

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