Forensic and Expert Services

Many of our commercial and criminal investigations require us to consult with forensic scientists, and other experts, in order for us to provide clients with best evidence.

Zavést have come to rely on services provided by The Forensic Group in Auckland. That reliance has now developed into a strategic partnership between Zavést and The Forensic Group.

The Forensic Group

We recommend and direct many of our clients to Dr Anna Sandiford at The Forensic Group.

In addition, Zavést provide several experts directly to clients.

Independent Fire Origin and Cause Expert

Ross Brogan (Australia)

Ross Brogan is based in Australia. He contracts to Zavést, and offers an independent file and peer review service for complex fire origin and cause matters.

Ross joined the New South Wales (NSW) Fire Brigades in 1970 and worked as a Fire Fighter and Officer throughout NSW, until retiring in 2007 at the rank of Inspector. In June 1987, he successfully completed the Arson Awareness section of NSW Police Detective training course and in August was appointed to NSW Fire Brigades Fire Investigation Unit, as an investigator, serving in that unit until 2003.

In 2000 Ross qualified as a Certified Fire Investigator, by the International Association of Fire Investigators; he re-qualified 2005 & 2010. In 2002 he was appointed to NSW Police Strike Force (Toronto) as Fire Brigade advisor on fire investigation. In 2007 Ross was awarded the advanced degree, Master of Arts (Fire Investigation).

Presently, Ross is an Adjunct Lecturer with Charles Sturt University, School of Policing Studies, and, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security. He teaches for the University. Since March 2003, on a biannual basis, Ross has co-presented a five/six day practical fire investigation course for Charles Sturt University, students consisting of Police, Fire Service, private investigators, insurance investigators and forensic science students.

Ross has presented papers to local and international conferences on the following topics:

  • Physiological effects of smoke/heat on the human body
  • Fire Investigation techniques
  • Fire Death investigation
  • Aerosol container explosions
  • Ship/Boat fire investigations
  • Evidence and Scene Preservation techniques
  • Motor Vehicle fires
  • Scene Documenting by Photography
  • Evidence in Court
  • Terrorism awareness for first responders
  • Bushfires and Task Force operations

He is qualified by Voir Dire in both the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in NSW, and other courts throughout Australia, to give opinion evidence as an expert witness in fire matters, in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules of Evidence, Expert Witness Testimony.

Ross is a Member of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), NSW, Victoria & Queensland Chapters and USA International member; member of the Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society; and, Editorial Board member of the IAAI Fire & Arson Investigator magazine. Finally, he serves on the Training and Education Committee and Fire Investigator Standards Committee of the IAAI.

Forensic Locksmith

Fraser Burns

Fraser Burns has nearly 40 years experience in the locksmith industry, he works on contract with Zavést offering expert opinion on matters relating to security and locking systems.

Fraser started training after school in Watch and Clock repairs, which gave him valuable understanding of the detail of small and intricate mechanisms. He began Locksmithing in 1971, buying his first company in 1975 and building it to the most comprehensive locksmith business on the North Island's East Coast. Understanding how locks and security devices operate or fail to operate became an essential part of the job understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different devices and methods enables you to make valid judgements.

Serving time as President of the New Zealand Locksmiths Association and then stepping up to New Zealand President of the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia, has broadened his horizons and experience for when he is called in to consult on a wide range of difficult issues. Working with Competenz as Chairman of the Locksmith Advisory Group on Locksmith Apprenticeship Training, as well as being an Assessor and a Moderator has taught Fraser to be careful in evaluating evidence.

Fraser has continued his interest in Training the Locksmiths of tomorrow through being an instructor for LockTech Training Ltd. He is a regular instructor for the New Zealand Locksmiths Association and for the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia.

He is also a contributor to several Security Magazines and author of various Locksmith Training materials.

Gang Expert

Dr Jarrod Gilbert

As part of his PhD, Jarrod undertook the most comprehensive study ever done on gangs in New Zealand. This research examined internal gang dynamics, gang control, and the social and economic factors that give rise to gang development and maturation.

He is widely recognised as one of New Zealand's leading gang experts and regularly appears in the media in this capacity. In 2004, he was the associate producer for a documentary on the Mongrel Mob that was part of the BAFTA winning series Ross Kemp on Gangs.

As well as lecturing at the University of Canterbury, Jarrod has presented to, or advised, numerous public bodies on gangs including city councils, the police and other government departments and ministries. In 2006, he was contracted by the Ministry of Social Development to assist in researching youth gangs in South Auckland that led to the creation of a comprehensive plan to tackle youth gangs.

Jarrod has also provided expert testimony in court cases involving gangs or gang members.

He is currently working on a number of publications, including a book on the history of gangs in New Zealand.

Physical Forensic Evidence

Amanda Gordon

Amanda Gordon is a former Forensic Scientist in Physical Evidence from ESR Ltd, New Zealand's only governmental Forensic Science agency. She holds two degrees, MSc (First Class Honours) in Forensic Science and a BSc in Pharmacology.

In her eight years working for ESR, Amanda had extensive experience in the analysis of non-DNA related Physical Evidence including glass, ignitable liquids, sexual lubricants, cosmetics, polymers & plastics, paint, fibres, physical fits and unknown substance identification. She has provided testimony for District Court and High Court on the interpretation of glass, ignitable liquids, sexual lubricants, cosmetics, polymers, physical fits and unknown substance identification.

During her time at ESR, Amanda was involved with numerous research projects and contributed to the development and implementation of a number of analysis methods used in the ESR Physical Evidence laboratory. She has published research in internationally recognised forensic journals.

Amanda's 'real-world' casework and research experience in New Zealand's only laboratory providing Physical Evidence expertise to the New Zealand Police, provides her with a perspective found amongst very few independent forensic consultants in this country.

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