Moyal Medallist 2015
The 2015 Moyal Medallist is Professor David Balding, Professor of Statistics at Schools of BioSciences and Mathematics & Statistics University of Melbourne and UCL Genetics Institute, London. Prof. Balding will deliver the 2015 Moyal Lecture:
Title: Statistical evaluation of evidence in criminal casework
Probability and statistics have much to offer the legal system but, with the exception of DNA profile evidence, this potential is barely exploited. Even for DNA profiles, the computation and interpretation of probabilities used to convey weight-of-evidence have been controversial, and misunderstandings are common. During my experience of over 20 years working with DNA profile evidence in the UK criminal justice system, I have seen big advances by forensic scientists in their appreciation and use of statistical ideas and methods. Paradoxically, as standards have improved courts in England and Wales have become more resistant to numerically-based reasoning, and even statistical assessments of DNA profile evidence have been undermined by a recent Appeal Court judgment. I will review statistical approaches to the evaluation of DNA profile evidence, illustrating the many statistical subtleties and complexities with reference to cases in which I have been involved. I will also briefly survey comparable issues for other evidence types. I hope to show why judges have good reason to be wary about statistics in their courts, but also why moves to discourage statistical reasoning are likely to be detrimental to justice, both in cementing past and present bad practice and in missing out on opportunities for major improvements.
The talk is followed by a complimentary light supper in the tearoom E6B 2.300 (Dept of Physics & Astronomy multi purpose room). All are welcome. For more information, please contact Maths Dept Administrator, Christine Hale (email@example.com).
Chair of the Moyal Medal Committee