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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prosecution discredits Aussie expert

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:38 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Just because a witness can explain all the scientific terms, it does not make him an expert in the field, says lead prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.
KUALA LUMPUR: Australian consultant molecular geneticist Dr Brian Leslie McDonald cannot be considered an expert in the field of forensic DNA, said the prosecution in the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy II trial today.
“I’m very impressed with the doctor’s credentials… (but) just because the witness can explain all the scientific terms, it does not make him an expert,” argued lead prosecutor Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.
McDonald agreed to this, to which Yusof added: “That’s what I’m saying, you’re not an expert.”

McDonald, who was being cross-examined by the prosecution after completing his testimony yesterday, anwered “yes” when asked if his field of study included forensic DNA.
He also agreed that the field of DNA had advanced and 20 years ago, when he obtained his qualifications in 1992, forensic DNA did not exist then.
However, McDonald denied Yusof’s claim that this rendered his credentials obsolete.
Yusof: You have never been formally trained in forensic DNA testing?
McDonald: No.
Yusof: So you are not trained in extraction of DNA and its interpretation…?
McDonald: (I am) absolutely. I have 30 years of experience
Yusof: But do you have formal training? Did you attend a course?
McDonald: When I started this, I actually conducted the courses (to train doctors to interpret findings). I am certainly trained as a scientist and as I said, forensic science itself as a field is a recent development.
McDonald explained to the court that he attained his expertise mainly through his extensive work in the field, literature and meetings with other experts.
Asked when was the last time he actually conducted a DNA testing himself, McDonald said that he did so in 2004.
Yusof: So that’s the last time you actually did a test yourself?
McDonald: I am a senior scientist. In the lab I set up in 2004, the technical side of testings are done by juniors, technicians and robots. I do the interpretations. Of course I can do the work (if I wanted to).

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