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18th Law Week Panel: Postmortem

May 24 @ 6:30 pm

Sisters in Crime Australia is again proud to join forces with the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University, to present its 18th Law Week event.

An expert panel from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM)Dr Melanie Archer (forensic pathologist and forensic entomologist), Associate Professor Linda IIes (Head of Pathology forensic pathologist), Dr Samantha Rowbotham (forensic anthropologist), and Dr Lyndall Smythe (forensic odontologist) – will explore the what, when, who, and where revealed by postmortems with true crime author and novelist, Dr Liz Porter.

The panel will examine some of their many weird and wonderful cases. Postmortem blood and other tissue samples are used by forensic toxicologists to determine the presence of drugs or poison. Bones and bruises can reveal trauma. Bugs can help tell a victim’s time of death and teeth can identify them. Altogether, they can help nail down who dunnit, where they dunnit, and how they dunnit.

Dr Melanie Archer

Dr Melanie Archer has been providing forensic entomology services to VIFM since 1998. She is also a medical doctor and has specialised in forensic pathology since 2018. Melanie gained a PhD on forensic entomology in 2002 and is now an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University. She is also on the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and the Chair of the Entomology Technical Advisory Group of the Medical Sciences Specialist Advisory Group (under the auspices of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences-Australia and New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency). Melanie spends her spare time looking after a collection of quirky animals on a small acreage, and has a growing interest in the Landcare movement.

Associate Professor Linda IIes, Head of Pathology

Associate Professor Linda Iles is a graduate of the University of Tasmania. She completed her internship, residency and part of her anatomical pathology training at the Royal Hobart Hospital before completing her specialist training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in 2004. She has been the head of Forensic Pathology Services at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine since 2015 and co-ordinates the Institute’s neuropathology program.  She worked as a consultant Forensic Pathologist at the University of Glasgow from 2007-2009 and undertook training in forensic neuropathology at the University of Edinburgh in 2009.

Linda has worked with the Australian Federal Police in Thailand, Vanuatu, Christchurch, and Timor Leste, and undertaken medicolegal death investigation work in the Cook Islands, Nauru, the Falkland Islands, and most recently with the WHO in Samoa. One of Linda’s particular areas of expertise is the brain, and she is one of the specialists in CTE, the subject of much controversy in the AFL and other contact sports.

Dr Samantha Rowbotham

Dr Samantha Rowbotham is the Acting Service Lead, Human Identification Service, and Head Forensic Anthropologist at VIFM. She also holds an Adjunct Research Fellow appointment with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, and is a Forensic Anthropology Trainee with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (Faculty of Science). Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology and History from the University of Queensland (2010); a Master of Archaeological Science (Research, First Class Honours) from the ANU (2012), and PhD in Forensic Medicine from Monash University (2018).

Dr Lyndall Smythe

Dr Lyndall Smythe is a consultant specialist forensic odontologist at VIFM. She is the coordinator of the Clinical Forensic Odontology stream of the Masters of Forensic Medicine degree. In addition, she is a Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry at the University of Melbourne in the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Areas of research include using post-mortem computed tomography to develop usable craniofacial superimposition and identification techniques and exploring the science and psychology of visual identification within the coronial/forensic science context. She has completed a Masters in Fine Arts (Photography) and a Masters in Forensic Medicine.

Dr Liz Porter is a former award-winning legal affairs journalist now known for her books about ‘the real CSI’ —the way forensic science is used to solve crime. Her recently completed PhD on the work of Victoria Police forensic lab scientists won La Trobe University’s Nancy Millis medal for theses of exceptional merit. Her forensic-themed books are Crime Scene Asia: When Forensic Evidence Becomes the Silent Witness; Written on the Skin: An Australian Forensic Casebook (joint winner of the 2007 Ned Kelly award for the best true crime book) and Cold Case Files, winner of Sisters in Crime’s 2012 Davitt award for best true crime book. She is an open water swimmer, a member of a pop music choir, a mad Saints fan, and the author of one novel, Unnatural Order.

Men or ‘brothers-in-law’ welcome.

Please book by 12 pm Friday 24 May.

$10 – $22 $20 non-members; $15 concession; $12 Sisters in Crime and Writers Victoria members; $10 under 19. Tickets not sold prior to the event will be available at the door for $22/$18/$15/$12.

Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University City Queen Street Campus, Lecture Theatre G02

295 Queen Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia
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