Senior Forensic Scientist Angus Newton feels lucky to do the work he does.
As part of the Physical Evidence Team based in Auckland he looks at items of forensic interest such as firearms, toolmarks or traces of paint, glass or fibres.
“We work with many different evidence types so the work is always interesting,” he says.
“Sometimes we attend firearm related crime scenes and work with the police to reconstruct an event, which is fascinating.”
Angus joined ESR in 1997. He has seen major advances in forensic science since then.
“There have been huge advances in technology since I’ve worked in this field,” he says.
“We can now analyse smaller samples faster and get better results.”
Angus often appears in court to give evidence.
“Our role there is purely to present the evidence and provide an expert opinion. The outcome of a trial is up to the court process and, as scientists, is not our focus.
“The rewarding part is to know you’ve done your job to the best of your ability.
“It’s satisfying that we can present sound scientific evidence and opinions that contribute to the accuracy of court decisions.”
Angus values the rich collaboration with his ESR colleagues and the positive relationship they share with the police.
The challenge of the work also makes his job interesting and rewarding.
“Our work is varied. While there may be some similarities, no two cases are the same. So we approach each case afresh but with the experience of a skilled and knowledgeable team behind us.”