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Lying lab boss Cathie Allen belatedly sacked

Posted on Categories Criminal law, Evidence Tags , , 1 Comment on Lying lab boss Cathie Allen belatedly sacked

Cathie Allen led the DNA lab that was plagued by scandal as a result of a decision taken in 2018 to test DNA samples in a way that resulted in low-level DNA samples being deemed as “DNA insufficient for further processing” and often led to inconclusive results.

Last year, Allen had recommended low-level DNA samples should go straight to amplification rather than be micro-concentrated which was widely considered to be best practice in order to cover her tracks.

The whistle was blown at Queensland’s Forensic and Scientific Services lab in 2021 and eventually led to the commission of inquiry headed by Walter Sofronoff KC.

At the commission of inquiry, Counsel assisting Michael Hodge SC  squarely accused Ms Allen of lying.

Cathie Allen lied about her the probity of her role in the 2018 change in DNA samples testing, lied about deliberately providing false information, lied about covering her tracks and lied about whether she was lying.

Sofronoff KC found that Allen had tried to cover up her “grave maladministration involving dishonesty” using a “deliberately crafted series of lies and misleading dodges”.

Her conduct recalls Sir Walter Scott’s words in “Marmion”:

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”.

Now it has been revealed that Allen was sacked late Wednesday afternoon in a formal letter sent to her legal team.

Finally. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

The debacle Allen caused continues to plague the Qld’s justice system with 10,000 cases awaiting analysis in a severe backlog.

The lab, which has 60 full-time equivalent lab staff and 21 reporting scientists, is now reviewing thousands of sexual assault cases dating back to 2008.

12 common misperceptions of family law clients

Posted on Categories Evidence, Family law Tags , , , , 2 Comments on 12 common misperceptions of family law clients

“Oh would some power the gift give us, To see ourselves as others see us” – Robert Burns. 


In any area of law, a client’s perceptions of matters related to their case are often inaccurate. This is partly because clients don’t have the benefit of the knowledge that comes from experience in such matters. Part of a solicitor’s job is to educate a client about the process, the substantive law and the like. As a result, it is prudent to manage the expectations of clients and after every significant event ask the client whether they understood what has happened, and listen their understanding so that one can ascertain their perceptions.

A client’s perceptions are often further clouded by their emotions, particularly in family law. Many clients’ perceptions of the situation are inaccurate or even twisted, because to put it bluntly their emotions can blind them from actuality. As a result, what a family law client believes to be the case often is not the case at all. And many clients resist being told (and even resent) someone else telling them that their perceptions are inaccurate or untrue.
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Failure to appear conviction quashed on appeal

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It is a criminal offence for a Defendant in criminal proceedings to fail to appear in court unless they have a reasonable excuse to do so. A recent case which resulted in an acquittal of such a charge sheds light on the meaning of reasonable excuse for the purposes of s33 of the Bail Act 1980 (Qld).

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Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win

Posted on Categories civil litigation, Evidence, Industrial relations, Negligence, Personal Injury Tags , , , , , , , 1 Comment on Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win

Amy Louise Robinson was employed by activewear company Lorna Jane Pty Ltd between July and December 2012 as manager of Lorna Jane’s DFO store at Skygate near Brisbane Airport.

Ms Robinson claimed to have suffered a psychiatric injury from workplace bullying by Megan McCarthy (Lorna Jane’s learning and development manager) and haemorrhoids when lifting and moving heavy boxes of stock during the course of her employment.

Relevant law

Vicarious liability is a common law principle which imposes liability despite the employer’s not itself being at fault. The claim for psychiatric injury alleged that Lorna Jane was vicariously liable for the actions of McCarthy and also that an email from a former DFO store employee named Ms Maninnen which alleged ill-treatment of Robinson by McCarthy had put the company ‘on notice’ and that it had subsequently failed to investigate.
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How to be an impressive witness in court

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Witnesses are usually assessed according to their credibility and reliability.

In cases where there are disputes of fact, the performance of the relevant witnesses will be critical, as the case is likely to be determined according to which witnesses are believed and which are not.

This article discusses dome of the do’s and don’ts involved in giving evidence at a hearing.
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