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Students ‘on target’ in Forensic Law

Friday 4 March 2016 9:49am


In early February, the Wellington Pistol Club hosted students from the University of Otago, as part of their Summer School course on Forensic Law.

After a safety briefing, the students were given the opportunity to fire a .22 automatic pistol and either a Glock 9mm automatic pistol or a .38 revolver at a static target. The Glock is the pistol used by New Zealand Police.

A number of students did exceptionally well with the task and were right on target.

The Pistol Club members then demonstrated the different effects of shooting objects with bullets of different calibre. Two notable examples were the shower of baked beans that resulted from the disintegration of a baked bean can that was shot with a metal tipped bullet, and the exit hole when a pumpkin was shot using a soft nosed bullet.

The students were then given the opportunity to see distinctive marks, which can identify the weapon fired. These were the rifling marks on the bullet, the firing pin marks on the shell cases and the distinctive marks on the shell cases made by the ejector systems of the automatic pistols.

The Forensic Law course was taught by leading New Zealand forensic anthropologist Dr Robin J Watt and by renowned Dunedin Barrister Len Andersen.