Advisory Committee

Doctor Soren Blau
Senior Forensic Anthropologist, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM)

Dr Soren Blau is the Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) where she has been employed since 2005. She is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University, Founding Fellow Faculty of Science, The Royal College of Pathologists of Australiasia, Chair of the Medical Sciences Specialist Advisory Group, and a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship (2013). Soren undertakes domestic forensic anthropology casework, including Disaster Victim Identification (DVI), and has undertaken consultancies for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Soren has participated in the recovery and analysis of human remains from archaeological and forensic contexts in numerous countries (including Australia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guam, Indonesia, Israel, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan), and has delivered training to forensic practitioners and related stakeholders in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Uganda and Botswana. In addition to publishing in peer reviewed journals and contributing chapters to over 15 books, Soren is the co-editor of the Handbook of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology (2009; 2016).

Professor Roger Byard
Senior Specialist Forensic Pathologist at Forensic Science SA, Adelaide

Professor Roger Byard AO PSM holds the George Richard Marks Chair of Pathology at The University of Adelaide and is a Senior Specialist Forensic Pathologist at Forensic Science SA in Adelaide, Australia. He has published, or has in press, over 680 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 47 chapters and a number of texts. He is the Editor-in-Chief/Managing Editor of Forensic Science Medicine and Pathology. He is a Professorial Fellow at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia, and received Distinguished Alumni Awards from The University of Adelaide in 2013 and the University of Tasmania in 2016. In 2016 he was also the recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death (ISPID) and was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Professor Stephen Cordner
Professor Forensic Pathology (International), Monash University

Professor Stephen Cordner was the Foundation Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University and Director of the VIFM from 1987- 2014. Under his direction the VIFM was developed to provide its independent expert forensic medical and scientific services to the  justice system, tissue for transplantation and postgraduate medical and scientific teaching and research services. Over the years, he has developed a particular interest in mass casualty management, human rights and humanitarian forensic action. Stephen has worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and has undertaken forensic medical investigative work in Kosovo, East Timor, Fiji, and Indonesia as well as his case work in Australia. On behalf of the ICRC (or WHO) he has undertaken missions to Iraq, countries of the former Yugoslavia and Myanmar, the Philippines and Liberia. He particularly enjoys teaching and has undertaken or organised training in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Botswana and Uganda. His most recent book is, as co-author, the 4th edition of: Good Medical Practice: Professionalism, Ethic  and the Law published in 2016 by the Australian Medical Council. 

Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter
Commander, Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command, NSW Police Force.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter APM is the Commander of the Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command. As Commander, Peter leads and oversights the operational and managerial responsibilities of forensic investigation and covert electronic gathering through lawful interception, interrogation and surreptitious intrusion for the NSW Police Force. Peter took on this role in December 2013 upon being appointed an Assistant Commissioner.

Peter has 33 years policing experience, having joined the NSW Police Force in 1984.
Peter started his policing career in the inner western suburbs of Sydney, completing general response policing for 7 years, before becoming hooked on criminal investigation work in 1991. After a couple of years of locally based criminal investigations, the lure of major crime won over, which led to Peter working exclusively for 20 years in the major crime domains of Homicide, Armed Robbery, Extortion, and Kidnap for Ransom, as a practitioner, manager, and ultimately senior manager and Commander. Peter is the chair of the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency, National Institute of Forensic Science Forensic Executive Committee. Peter holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree with Honours and is admitted as a Legal Practitioner in New South Wales. He also holds the Associate Diploma in Criminal Justice (Police). In the Australia Day Honours of 2008, Peter was awarded the Australian Police Medal for distinguished service.

Nicholas Cowdery
Former Director of Public Prosecutions for New South Wales

Nicholas Cowdery AM QC was the Director of Public Prosecutions for the State of New South Wales (heading the largest prosecuting agency in Australia) from 1994 to 2011 and has been practising in criminal justice for 50 years. He is now a professor and teaching at several universities in NSW. He was a legal expert consultant to the Commonwealth Secretariat, London and was a consultant to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In 1987 he was appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel (QC). He is a member of: the Advisory Committee of the Sydney Institute of Criminology; the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice at UNSW; the Criminal Law Committee of the NSW Bar Association; the National Human Rights Committee of the Law Council of Australia; and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and Honorary Fellow of the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists. He is a former member of: the NSW Sentencing Council; the DNA Review Panel; the Advisory Panel of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences, and the Advisory Committee of the DNA Laboratory.  He was inaugural Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (of which he is an honorary life member) and President of the International Association of Prosecutors (of which he is also an honorary life member). He is a life member of LAWASIA. He was appointed a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) in 2003 for service to the development and practice of criminal law, and for fostering international relations in the area of human rights.

Professor James Curran
Professor of Statistics, University of Auckland

Professor Curran joined the Statistics Department at the University of Auckland in 2005 after six years at the University of Waikato. Professor Curran’s research focuses on statistical problems in forensic science. These range from issues associated with the statistical assessment of the weight of evidence, to modelling and data analysis involved in the fundamental science behind new forensic techniques and evidence types. He is currently the President of the New Zealand Forensic Science Society (and the Vice-President New Zealand of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics, and a past-President of the New Zealand Statistical Association. He serves on the editorial board of Forensic Chemistry. Professor Curran is a Fellow of the United Kingdom’s Charted Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS).

A/Professor John AM Gall
President of the International Association of Clinical Forensic Medicine 

John Gall is a forensic physician in private practice, Director of Southern Medical Services, Principal of Era Health, Senior Consultant with the Victorian Paediatric Forensic Medical Service, Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, and an Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne. He is President of the International Association of Clinical Forensic Medicine, and a member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Legal and Forensic Medicine and Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences.  John qualified initially as a biochemist, completed his doctorate in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne and engaged in postdoctoral research in anatomy.  He undertook training in anatomical and forensic pathology and clinical forensic medicine. He has practised Clinical Forensic Medicine for in excess of twenty years.  John has been extensively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education both at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.  He wrote and taught the subject ‘Custodial Medicine’ in Monash University’s Graduate Diploma of Forensic Medicine, devised, developed and administered an international continuing education programme in forensic medicine, and with co-authors, wrote and edited a colour guide in Forensic Medicine.  He and Jason Payne-James edited and contributed two editions of Current Practice in Forensic Medicine.  John has been involved in pathology and forensic medical research and much of these findings have been published.  In addition to forensic medicine, he owns and manages a private super clinic (general practice, dental, psychology, physiotherapy and podiatry) and practices occupational medicine.  Beyond medicine, his activities include tennis, scuba diving and flying.

Professor Olaf H. Drummer
Deputy Director at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine

Professor Olaf H. Drummer, is a forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist. Currently, he is Deputy Director (Academic Programs) at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University. Professor Drummer completed his Applied Chemistry Degree at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1973 and his PhD a few years later from Melbourne University. In 1989 he took up a position as an Assistant Director at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to form Victoria’s new forensic toxicology laboratories. He has received a number of awards such as: the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) TIAFT Alan Curry award (2016); Jean Servais Stas award from the German Society of Toxicology and Forensic Chemistry (GTFCh) (2013); and Excellence in Higher Degree supervision, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (2013). He has also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp (2016). He has published extensively in the fields of forensic pharmacology and analytical toxicology. He has acted as an expert forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist in court cases in Australia and across the world. He is a past President as well as having served as treasurer, and is the past  and inaugural President of the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australia.

Alastair Ross
Alastair is a former director of the ANZPAA National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS), Australia being the inaugural Director from 1992 to 2003.

From 2003 to 2008 Alastair was Director of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department, a full service forensic facility with over 300 staff. He returned as director of NIFS from 2008 to 2015. Alastair holds a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Master of Applied Science (Research) from the University of South Australia. Alastair received the Adelaide Medal from the International Association of Forensic Sciences for international contributions to forensic science in 2002 and the John Harber Phillips Award in 2017.  He is a life member of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) and a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Michael Symonds
Executive Director, NSW Health Pathology Forensic & Analytical Science Service

Michael is the Executive Director of the NSW Health Pathology Forensic & Analytical Science Service. Prior to his appointment in late 2017, Michael held the roles of Director Hunter New England Imaging, encompassing radiology, nuclear medicine & medical physics, and Director BreastScreen NSW HNE. He was previously General Manager of the John Hunter Hospital NSW for a period of two years. With a background in Medical Radiation Science, Michael has extensive clinical and leadership experience spanning over 30 years in the acute health care sector with an emphasis on medical imaging, patient care, the introduction of digital technology and organisational change. His experience includes forensic radiology imaging in a number of high profile cases. Michael has attained Master of Health Science Education from the University of Sydney, is a Conjoint Lecturer with the Faculty of Health & Medicine at University of Newcastle, operates as a technical cooperation expert for the International Atomic Energy Agency and is engaged in research with colleagues from Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). Michael is a member of the Australia New Zealand Forensic Executive Committee (ANZFEC) and the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS).

Doctor Jill Vintiner
Forensic Program Manager, Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), New Zealand

Dr Jill Vintiner is the Forensic Programme Manager at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and her responsibilities include the leadership and management of ESR’s forensic science services including the financial performance, science development and quality assurance aspects of the programme. ESR provides forensic science services primarily to the New Zealand Police and other government agencies and has a number of international linkages with other forensic organisations. Dr Vintiner completed a Doctorate in Molecular Genetics from University College London and joined ESR in 2000 to take a leadership role in the NZ DNA Profile Databank operation. In 2003 Dr Vintiner was appointed the Forensic Research Programme Manager and developed linkages and collaborations with national and international agencies to foster and grow forensic research at ESR. Prior to working at ESR, Dr Vintiner held research positions in the field of genetics both in the United Kingdom and New  Zealand. Dr Vintiner is a member of the NZ National Disaster Victim Identification Committee, the University of Auckland Forensic Science Board of Studies and the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society.

Doctor Simon Walsh 
National Manager Specialist Operations, Australian Federal Police (AFP)

Dr Simon Walsh is the National Manager Specialist Operations leading a critical capability portfolio that amalgamates the AFP’s Forensics and Intelligence functions. Simon has held the role of AFP Chief Forensic Scientist where he developed a reforming vision for AFP Forensics and implemented the associated structural and cultural transformation. Simon led specialist input into the design and functioning of the new AFP Forensic Facility, associated change management initiatives, the establishment of forensic intelligence and the National Forensic Rapid Lab. From 2008 to 2016 Simon held the role of the AFP National Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Commander and led numerous responses to major operations including taking an international Forensic and DVI operational leadership role in Operation Bring Them Home (the downing of MH17). Simon has authored literature, a textbook on DNA Evidence Interpretation, and over 80 book chapters and refereed articles. Simon received his PhD in 2009 for a thesis evaluating the role and impact of forensic DNA profiling on the criminal justice system is an Adjunct Associate Professor of the University of Canberra. In 2014 Simon was awarded the UTS Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and the Faculty of Science Alumni of the Year. In July 2015 Simon was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in forensic science particularly disaster victim identification.

Doctor Linzi Wilson-Wilde 
Director of the ANZPAA National Institute of Forensic Science Australia New Zealand

Dr Linzi Wilson-Wilde gained a BSc and a PGDipSc at La Trobe University and a PhD at the University of Canberra in species identification for wildlife crime investigations using Diprotodontia. Linzi has 20 years’ experience in forensic science working for Victoria Police, New South Wales Police and the Australian Federal Police. During this time Linzi has worked on the investigation of a number of  high-profile murder cases, cold case reviews and the highly publicised mass DNA screen in the town of Wee Waa. Linzi also served on the Working Party on Law Enforcement and Evidence for the Australian Law Reform Commission Report into the Protection of Human Genetic Information, released in 2003 and coordinated the DNA analysis of all samples involved in the disaster victim identification and  criminal investigation of the Bali Bombing in October 2002. Recently Linzi has been involved in the development of forensic specific Australian and international Standards and is the current Chair of ISO TC272. Linzi has received a Medal in the Order of Australia for her work and was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2014. Linzi is currently Director of the National Institute of Forensic Science at the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency.

Professor Noel Woodford
Professor of Forensic Medicine, Monash University Director, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM)

Professor Noel Woodford is the Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University. He is a forensic pathologist who has worked at the VIFM for 12 years, prior to which he was a consultant Home Office Pathologist and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Pathology in the Department of Forensic Pathology at Sheffield University UK. Whilst in the UK he obtained a Master of Laws in Medical Law from the University of Cardiff. His special interests include sudden unexpected natural adult death and radiological imaging as an adjunct to medico-legal death investigation.