Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 01, 2023


Forensic Science SA Awards

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:02): My question is to the Attorney-General. Can he tell the council about the recipients of the Forensic Science SA Professor Hilton Kobus Research Award and the Justice Ted Mullighan Outstanding Case Award?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:02): I thank the honourable member for his question. I certainly can and I certainly will inform him and the chamber about the recipients of the Forensic Science SA's Professor Hilton Kobus Research Award and also the Justice Ted Mullighan Outstanding Case Award.

It was an honour, earlier this year, to acknowledge and be present at the award ceremony for the many dedicated people working at Forensic Science SA. The research undertaken through Forensic Science SA and the numerous papers published by the staff, in collaboration with researchers either based here in South Australia, interstate or, in some cases, from other parts of the world, is one of the many reasons Forensic Science SA is the envy of forensic labs right across this country and across the globe. It is vital that we continue to foster that collaboration and the ongoing role played by the staff and students who work at Forensic Science SA.

It is research like this that can underpin those huge advances in technology that lead us to places we probably can't even imagine at this point. The Divett Place complex where Forensic Science SA currently operates was opened way back in 1978, and there have been so many big leaps forward since then, with areas of molecular biology, forensic toxicology and even things like being able to identify someone based on DNA sampling, which just wasn't possible back when that complex opened.

I have talked before about the new facilities that will be built for Forensic Science SA to make sure that they have a purpose-built home to continue these sorts of advances. In the spirit of the innovation, research and commitment that was shown in Forensic Science SA, the annual awards reflect the work that is being done and the steps forward.

As I mentioned, I had the great pleasure to present awards to some outstanding recipients over the last 12 months. The Professor Hilton Kobus Research Award was awarded to Duncan Taylor and Damien Abaro for their published research paper titled, 'A lights-out forensic DNA analysis workflow for no-suspect crime,' which provides a proof of concept for using automated DNA profile reading and top-down analysis to improve efficiency in a no-suspect workflow.

The Justice Ted Mullighan Outstanding Case Award was awarded to Roger Byard for his work in the case of Jasmeen Kaur, who was abducted in March 2021 and murdered. Roger was able to demonstrate through pathological findings the cause and manner of the death in what was quite a horrific crime that the accused pleaded guilty to earlier this year.

I commend the talent, commitment and efforts of each and every employee of Forensic Science SA, especially those whose achievements are celebrated at the annual awards.