ANZFSS Allan Hodda Memorial Award travel and research; and Suicides with home-made firearms using highly unconventional ammunition

Invited Speaker: Sergeant Gerard Dutton (Tas Police)

Presentation 1: ANZFSS Allan Hodda Memorial Award travel and research

In 2013 Gerard Dutton was the recipient of the ANZFSS Allan Hodda Memorial Award. This annual award provides financial support to allow the member to travel overseas to attend forensic meetings, forensic institutions or educational facilities. In September/October 2014 he took five weeks annual leave to travel to the UK and a number of European countries, primarily to research the statistical and probabilistic approach to forensic firearms/toolmarks evidence. During his travel he visited a number of forensic institutions to conduct research and gave a number of presentations to staff. This included:

  • One day at the Metropolitan Police Forensic Firearms Unit, London;
  • Three-day ENFSI Firearms/GSR Working Group meeting in Leeds, UK
  • Three days at the Netherlands Forensic Institute, The Hague, Netherlands
  • One day at the National Forensic Laboratory, Brussels, Belgium
  • Two days at the Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science, Linkoping, Sweden
  • Three days at the School of Criminal Justice – Institute of Forensic Science, University of Lausanne, Switzerland and
  • Two days at Ballistics Unit, Bundeskriminalamt, Wiesbaden, Germany

Gerard’s first presentation will include the results of his research in those countries in regards to evidence interpretation in the firearms/toolmarks discipline.

Presentation 2: Suicides with home-made firearms using highly unconventional ammunition

Firearm related suicides are not unusual events. Suicides with home-made firearms using highly unconventional ammunition are however rare. The author will recount such a case from 2015 where the victim used a crude but effective home-made single shot firearm to take his own life. The ammunition used was unusual in that the fatal projectile was a lead sinker, propelled by a Ramset fastening charge as used by the building industry in nail guns. The incident scene was notable due to the presence of nineteen other similar loaded and cocked homemade firearms found in every room of the deceased’s house, a number of which were triple barrelled, designed to discharge simultaneously.

Gerard will outline the results of the autopsy, test firing of the fatal firearm (and with a far safer modified rifle to explore some of the relevant ballistics issues from this case).