Michael is a Senior Consultant Forensic Scientist and founding partner of The Forensic Experts Group, Singapore. He has 28 years of experience in forensic science.
He studied 8 years in France on a French Government Scholarship administered by the Singapore Public Service Commission. He graduated among the top from the Institut National Supérieur de Chimie Industrielle de Rouen (a grande école) with a Diplôme d’Ingénieur and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies in 1985, and a Diplôme de Docteur ès Sciences (mention très honorable) in 1987. In 2001, he obtained an MBA with Distinction from Warwick University, United Kingdom.
In October 1989, Michael joined the Department of Scientific Services as a forensic scientist. After stints in Narcotics II Laboratory, Toxicology Laboratory and Poisons Information Centre, he joined the Criminalistics Laboratory (now known as the Forensic Chemistry & Physics Laboratory or FCPL) in 1991. In 1993, Michael was tasked to revamp and revitalise the service scope, instrumental capabilities, methods, technical procedures, staff development and research of the Criminalistics Laboratory. This rebuilding and redevelopment of lab capabilities and culture took several years. Significant progress was achieved in the development of capabilities in trace evidence (fibres, paints, glass, GSR, explosives, unknown chemicals, arson) and physical examinations. Michael served as Head of Criminalistics Lab from 1996 to 2008, and Director of the Forensic Science Division from 2003 to 2010. He navigated the lab through its difficult transition from case volume based mainly on conventional serology, to chemical and physical examinations. He became Senior Consultant Forensic Scientist in 2009, and Director of Professional and Technical Education, Applied Sciences Group in 2010.
Michael has been a zealous champion of quality in forensic science. He was appointed a certified ASCLD/LAB Quality Assessor in 2001, and was part of international teams auditing government forensic laboratories in Hong Kong, Malaysia and San Francisco, USA. He served as Quality Manager for HSA’s forensic laboratories from January 2009 to October 2012, spearheading the labs’ transition from ASCLD/LAB-Legacy to International accreditation. HSA labs achieved this gold standard in June 2012, with their best ever external audit performance since 1996. Michael established and developed the Quality Assurance & Standards Committee (QASC) in the Asian Forensic Sciences Network, helming it from October 2008 to September 2013.
Michael has worked across a wide range of forensic expertise, reporting and testifying on trace evidence, damage, marks and prints, toxicology, drugs of abuse, fire and explosions, bloodstain patterns, scientific simulations, video analysis, traffic collisions and crime scene reconstructions. High profile cases which he was involved in includes: PP v Constance Chee, PP v Aguilar Guen Garlejo, PP v Khor Kok Soon, Quek Kwee Kee Victoria (executrix of the estate of Quek Kiat Siong, deceased) v American International Assurance Co Ltd. Together with Chin Chin, Michael initiated and developed many of FCPL’s forensic capabilities, as well as imparted a vibrant vision and a robust laboratory culture for success. He has worked on thousands of cases, including numerous major and high-profile criminal cases, and was subpoenaed to present expert testimony in over 150 Supreme and State Court trials.
In 2007, Michael pioneered the development of traffic accident reconstruction (TAR) capabilities in HSA, with the aim of creating independent authoritative expertise in this much contested and difficult field. He customised TAR methods to the Singapore context, and has since reported on many TAR cases. Shortly after the Little India Riot in December 2013, TFEG was appointed by the Singapore Police Force as independent experts to perform forensic video examinations and reconstruct the bus accident which triggered Singapore’s worst riot in over 40 years. On behalf of TFEG, Michael presented the findings on the first day of the open inquiry in February 2014.
Michael has lectured on many law enforcement training courses, and provided in-house training and moot court training to FCPL and other forensic staff. He was Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University from 2009 till 2016, delivering lectures on the latest forensic developments and innovative approaches to solving crimes. He served as Adjunct Professor in the Chemistry Department, National University of Singapore from 2008 to 2014, during which time, he played a key role in setting up the Advanced Forensic Science module (CM3301), and creating and delivering course materials for the Introduction, Forensic Ethics and Glass modules. He was an invited speaker at Singapore’s first TED Conference at A*Star in September 2010. He has been invited as consultant and speaker by overseas forensic agencies (e.g. Qatar, Thailand, Korea) and has co-authored or presented over 100 scientific papers in international and local forensic conferences and journals. In 2017, he co-authored a book “Forensic Science – Briefs for the Legal Practitioner” with the other senior forensic scientists in TFEG. He was awarded the National Day Long Service Award in August 2012.
Michael is a firm proponent and exponent of bold, rigorous and innovative forensic science, harnessing the full power of scientific principles, tools and reasoning in the pursuit of truth.