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Lord Advocate’s visit to world-renowned research centre highlights vital role of science in pursuit of justice.

The Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC today visited a leading science research centre where the secrets of cold cases are unlocked, and new techniques to prosecute crimes of the future are developed.

The Lord Advocate pictured with centre director, Professor Niamh Nic Daeid

 Scotland’s senior law officer, who has responsibility for Scotland’s prosecution system and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), met with scientists at the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee.  

She saw first-hand how the innovative work of specialists there provides research crucial to the underpinning of scientific evidence for the prosecution of crimes of both the past and present. 

The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science is acknowledged as being at the forefront of boosting the role forensic science plays in Scotland’s criminal justice system. 

The Lord Advocate toured facilities with centre director, Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, and discussed projects applying forensic science to criminal justice including the detection of new psychoactive substances, the use of virtual reality in investigations, and opportunities to progress the detection of digital evidence.  

The Lord Advocate hailed advances in this field: 

“As well as being a valued tool in the armoury for tackling crimes of today and serving as deterrent for potential criminals, our use of scientific techniques is invaluable in the investigation of historical cold cases.’  

The Lord Advocate commented: 

“The passing of time is no protection for those who seek to evade justice. We work with partners using the latest forensic techniques and where there is evidence of a crime and it is in the public interest we will prosecute.  

“Victims and families can be assured that as Scotland's independent public prosecutor, COPFS revisit new avenues to prosecute that can be unlocked by technological advancements. 

“Forensic science can be the key to perpetrators facing the consequences of their criminality, no matter how much time has passed. I hope that our determination to pursue criminals using the best scientific evidence provides comfort to victims and their families.”  

 Professor Niamh Nic Daeid said 

“It has been a tremendous pleasure to welcome the Lord Advocate to the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science. “ 

“Opportunities such as this allow us to showcase the research work we carry out here, including our commitment to engage with all of our colleagues across the justice sector and beyond including members of the public.” 

 The Lord Advocate said:  

 “Visits such as today’s deepen our understanding of science’s role within our courtrooms. Innovations in the scientific robustness of evidence presented in court contribute to the delivery of justice. I welcome this opportunity to jointly explore new ideas and approaches for tackling some of the challenges in forensic science and criminal justice.” 

 Professor Niamh Nic Daeid highlighted: 

“We very much look forward to our continued relationship with the Lord Advocate and the Crown Office and in supporting the development and innovation of forensic science for the benefit of the justice system and our society.” 

 The visit is a continuation of the partnership between COPFS and the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science to drive innovation that ensures the very best science furthers the delivery of justice in Scotland.