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Forensic Biology and DNA

From: Lawyer's Guide to the Forensic Sciences


Discusses forensic biology and DNA, providing an overview of the science of forensic biology and DNA. The role of the forensic biologist in criminal cases is also explained, and legal context is given.



Cecilia Hageman

Cecilia Hageman, BSc (Genetics), PhD (Plant Sciences), LLB (Western University), LLM (Osgoode Hall), is an associate member of the Law Society of Upper Canada (called to the bar in 1991) and was employed as a forensic biologist with the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) in Toronto, beginning in 1991. She has been an expert witness in criminal proceedings in Ontario courts in the fields of body fluid identification, forensic DNA analysis, and bloodstain pattern analysis. She was a member of the CFS’s biology section management team from 1998 to 2013. In July 2013, she joined the Faculty of Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa as an assistant professor in UOIT’s forensic science program, where she mentors and supervises student research, and also develops and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in forensic biology, population genetics, criminalistics, and law. Her publications include C. Hageman, D. Prevett, & W. Murray, DNA Handbook, 2d ed. (Oxford: Butterworths, 2008) and K. Johnston & C. Hageman, “Blood and Bodily Substances,” in G. Chayko, et al., eds., Forensic Evidence in Canada, 2d edition (Toronto: Canada Law Book, 1999).

Caitlin Pakosh

Caitlin M. Pakosh, HBSc, JD, has been working as case management counsel of Innocence Canada (formerly known as AIDWYC) since 2012 and is responsible for managing the Association’s cases across Canada. She obtained her honours bachelor of science degree, specializing in forensic anthropology and earning a minor in biology, from the University of Toronto Mississauga in 2008. Her undergraduate thesis, which examined the decomposition of dismembered pig limbs enclosed in plastic bags and submerged in Lake Ontario, was conducted during her internship with the Toronto Police Service Marine Unit and published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 2009. Ms. Pakosh obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary in 2011. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and has worked on intervener and appellate cases that have appeared at a variety of levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as ministerial review applications. Since 2013, Ms. Pakosh has cross-examined forensic science students in annual mock trials at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where students practise being expert witnesses. She is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is also an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.

Sarah Harland-Logan

Sarah Harland-Logan, BA, JD, is an associate at Kapoor Barristers, a criminal defence firm in Toronto, Ontario. She obtained her bachelor of arts degree (magna cum laude) from Harvard University, where she studied English literature and health policy. During her undergraduate years she also served as special assistant to Dr. James Orbinski, past International President, Médecins Sans Frontières. Ms. Harland-Logan earned her juris doctorate at the University of Toronto, graduating in 2014. In law school, she worked in the criminal and university affairs divisions at Downtown Legal Services, examined CSIS practices with regard to security certificates at the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, and prosecuted provincial offences in Toronto and Kenora. Ms. Harland-Logan began volunteering with Innocence Canada (formerly known as the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted [AIDWYC]) in 2012 and is the principal author of the “Historical Cases” section of Innocence Canada’s website. After completing her articles at Greenspan Humphrey Lavine, she was called to the Ontario Bar in 2015 and subsequently worked as a sole practitioner focusing on Ontario Review Board disposition appeals. Ms. Harland-Logan is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Toronto Lawyers Association.