Monday, August 23, 2010


This week is the sixth anniversary of the start of this site.

Other milestones? Forty years ago I was dux of the same secondary school that Lord Rutherford was dux of in 1889. I smile at the bathos. Perhaps in some other dimension Rutherford's loud laughter echoes down the corridors of the Cavendish when he sees the result of searching this site for the word "smug".

I came to law after a science degree which left me fearless of mathematics, statistics and probability. This leads to the next anniversary.

Thirty years ago I had, as a spin-off from my PhD thesis, an article published in the Criminal Law Review. The publishers sent me copies of that month's edition.

This contained a fascinating exchange between Sir Richard Eggleston and, in the letters part of the journal, Jonathan Cohen over the forensic use of probability reasoning.

Consequently, I became familiar with Bayes' Theorem. The book by Bernard Robertson and GA Vignaux, "Interpreting Evidence" (1995) should make this subject accessible for most lawyers. So may my draft paper on the logic of propensity evidence.

Bernard, incidentally, is mentioned on the Innocence Project page of Victoria University in Wellington. And, to complete a circle within a circle, Graham Zellick – mentioned in the edition of the Criminal Law Journal referred to above, is here in New Zealand now in connection with Victoria University's Innocence Project. Gasp.

So there we have it: milestones, coincidence, criss-crossing lives, earnest endeavours, and time always passing.