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Amir-Bastani thumbAmir Bastani
PhD candidate, Faculty of Law

"I completed a law degree at Tehran University, and after four years working as a lawyer in my home country, Iran, I undertook and completed MA in Criminal Law and Criminology also at Tehran University. My research topic was "The Impact of Biological Factors on Criminal Behaviour with the Emphasis on Genetic Factors." I was under the supervision of both a geneticist and a criminologist. Ultimately my findings led me to be interested in the vexed question of how the law should respond to criminal responsibility of genetically predisposed criminals.

"I chose the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago for my PhD, as it is one of the few places I know of with an ideal research center where I would have the chance to investigate this project with excellent supervision from academics with an in depth understanding of this topic. The New Zealand Law Foundation Center for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies is the place, and I knew that the Director, Associate Professor Colin Gavaghan, would be an excellent supervisor. I am also very grateful to have Professor Mark Henaghan as my other supervisor.

"My PhD topic is "Legal and Ethical Issues in the 'Genetic Defence' Concerning Criminal Responsibility." My current research focuses on the combination of the Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) structural gene and environmental factors, and their effects on antisocial behaviour. The the most important question of the thesis is the possible legal response of New Zealand and the United Kingdom's law to this combination. Due to increasing advances in the fields of behavioral genetics and neuroscience, I will consider the law's response to related discoveries in these fields as well."

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