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The environmental presence of gunshot residue: A case study in the workspaces and hands of employees at a forensic laboratory in Western Australia

Le, Ashley (2016) The environmental presence of gunshot residue: A case study in the workspaces and hands of employees at a forensic laboratory in Western Australia. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Gunshot residue (GSR) is a type of forensic trace evidence made up of particles that remain after a firearm is discharged, which can assist in determining if someone was involved with or in the vicinity of a fired weapon. A characteristic GSR particle consists of lead, barium, and antimony, although in modern ammunition lead is often absent or replaced with a different element. Although GSR sampling has many potential benefits for investigations, it has often been problematic due to the risk of transfer and contamination of particles from environmental sources; in particular, certain workplaces can have a high probability of containing GSR-like particles. Moreover, there is a potential of secondary transfer of particles from police officers to suspects or other evidence. Determining the source of the particles is crucial for evaluating the strength of GSR evidence. The admissibility of GSR evidence has become stronger in recent times with the development of the ASTM guidelines and the establishment of the Scientific Working Group for Gunshot Residue. However, there is still limited knowledge of the environmental sources of GSR-like particles in local areas and there is a pressing need to investigate differences in specific local environments.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor: Coumbaros, J. and Speers, James
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/35095
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