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* An evening with Dr Christopher Jeans : Murder and geochemistry began at Christmas 1999: a personal viewpoint *

Wednesday December 14, 2016 | 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Abstract from the talk :

The last part of the 20th Century and the first decade of the 21st has not been a very comfortable time for British Criminal Justice, at least in the eyes of the caring public. It was not the best time for expert witnesses and even less for those accused of child abuse or murder. The quality and independence of expert witnesses was being challenged and sometimes shown to be seriously lacking. The BBC’s programme, Rough Justice’ was flourishing and MOJO – the Miscarriage of Justice Organisation – was not short of cases. Neither exist today, Were they too revealing, or were problems in such short supply that they had to shut up shop ? Or, perhaps, did the public paymasters think it better for the viewing public to see how justice and forensic deduction was actually done in those TV soap operas? In the early 1990s along came, Geoforensics, promoted and pushed by certain academics. Not a new topic by any means, the use of geological evidence in one way or another is of long standing. One of its facets sold to the Police was a form of finger printing—not of human fingers— but of the soil environment which may have come into contact with footwear or clothing thus providing a ‘finger print’ of the complex association of natural and man-made components that make up soils in a particular location. Apparently it was claimed that the Police laboratories did not give this type of evidence the diligence it deserved . I entered this scene suddenly and unexpectedly at Christmas 1999 to help to critically assess evidence, put forward by the Prosecution in a case being heard in the Bristol Crown Court. This was the first in a series of murder trials between 2000 and 2010 that demonstrated the limitation of the concept “sold” to the Police. In the nitty-gritty of the battles between what the soil evidence claimed to show and what it actually demonstrated, chemical analysis , in conjunction with novel methods of preparing samples, combined with other lines of evidence, often played an important role in deciding the issues.

Christopher Jean’s Research Interests

Christopher Jeans is a self-supported consultant post-doctoral worker, and an affiliated member of the QPG. He is a research earth scientist specialising in the geology, petrology and geochemistry of sedimentary rocks and soils with extensive experience in their application to the needs of Industry and Society. Particularly in problems involving oil and gas exploration and production, the distribution and effects of clay minerals in the natural environment, and the use of forensic soil evidence in murder and other criminal trials. Research interests are the interrelationship between sediments/soils and clay mineralogy/geochemistry with special regard to the Mesozoic rocks of Europe (particularly the Upper Cretaceous Chalk) and New Zealand.

The event on Wednesday the 14th of December 2016 is free to members of The Stamford and District Geological Society. And for visitors a charge of £3 please. You can also apply for membership on the night.

The Venue :

Tinwell Village Hall
Manor Lane
near Stamford

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Wednesday December 14, 2016
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Stamford and District Geological Society


Tinwell Village Hall
Manor Lane, Tinwell
Stamford, PE9 3UD United Kingdom
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