Forensic Speech Science Committee (FSSC)

ASSTA’s Forensic Speech Science Committee (FSSC) evolved out of its earlier Forensic Speaker Identification Standards Committee, which was established in 1996, following discussions at the SST-94 conference. Its members, listed below, have considerable theoretical expertise in many aspects of Forensic Speech Science – in particular Forensic Voice Comparison, both with traditional and automatic methods.Click on their names to see their credentials (n.b. the committee has been updated on 3/1/2021).

Most FSSC members consult in real-world forensic case-work, both for police and private parties. Inquiries concerning forensic speech science case-work should be addressed in the first instance to: Dr. Shun Ishihara , or the secretary of ASSTA Debbie Loakes.

Helen Fraser (Chair)
Bronwen Innes
Shunichi Ishihara
Yuko Kinoshita (Deputy Chair)
Debbie Loakes
Phil Rose
Michael Wagner

Dr Helen Fraser 
Dr. Fraser is an independent researcher with a strong background in phonetics, especially its cognitive branches (those relating to speech perception, pronunciation and writing). She holds a BA (Hons) from Macquarie University (1983) and a Ph.D from the University of Edinburgh (1989), and taught phonetics and related disciplines at the University of New England, Armidale, from 1990-2008.

Dr. Fraser has been involved in forensic case-work since 1993. In recent years she has specialised in issues to do with forensic transcription of poorly recorded materials (see for example her article Issues in Transcription: Factors affecting the reliability of transcripts as evidence in legal cases in the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, and her chapterForensic Transcription in the legal reference series Expert Evidence. She has also been active in creating and publicising guidelines for the use of language analysis in the determination of asylum seekers’ origin (see for example her joint article Linguistic identification in the determination of nationality: A preliminary report in Language Policy, and her article The Role of ‘Educated Native Speakers’ in providing language analysis for the determination of the origin of asylum seekers (LADO) in The International Journal of Speech Language and the Law. Please visit her website at http://helenfraser.com.au for more publications and other information.

Dr Shunichi Ishihara
Dr. Shunichi Ishihara is senior lecturer in Linguistics and Japanese in the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University. He has an M.A and Ph.D in Acoustic Phonetics from the Australian National University, and an M.Sc in Speech and Language Processing from Macquarie University.

Dr. Ishihara is an executive member of the Australasian Speech Science & Technology Association, a member of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics, and a fellow of the ANU Research School of Asia and the Pacific. He has been a visiting researcher at the National Research Institute of Police Science in Japan, Macquarie University and the University of Canberra. He has published several papers on forensic voice comparison, in particular concerning the use of higher-level features like Fundamental Frequency. His research interests also include linguistic phonetics and similarities/differences between individuals in writing.

Dr Yuko Kinoshita 
Dr. Kinoshita is the Convener of the Japanese Program in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra, and a research member of its former National Centre for Biometric Studies. She holds a doctorate in forensic speaker recognition from the Australian National University. Her 2001 Ph.D thesis Testing realistic forensic speaker identification in Japanese: A likelihood-ratio based approach using formants was the first study to successfully implement a forensically-motivated likelihood ratio-based approach to Forensic Speaker Recognition with formants.

Dr. Kinoshita has been a visiting fellow at the National Research Institute of Police Science in Japan, collaborating with Japanese forensic speaker identification experts. A member of the International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics, she continues to research forensic speaker recognition and has published several papers on it. Her research interests also include linguistic phonetics, and she also holds an M.A in phonetics from the Australian National University in which she conducted research on dialectal variation in Chinese. She is registered on the NSW Police scientific evidence expert list, and continues to do forensic voice comparison case-work.

Prof Philip Rose 
Phil Rose is adjunct associate professor in Phonetics and Chinese linguistics at the Australian National University, is a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences, and has been British Academy Visiting Professor at the Joseph Bell Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning at the University of Edinburgh. He has a Ph.D in Chinese Phonetics from Cambridge, and an M.A. in Linguistics and first-class honours in German from the University of Manchester.

Prof. Rose is author of Forensic Speaker Identification, in the Taylor & Francis Forensic Science Series. He has also published widely on forensic speaker identification. Phil’s short bio is here. He is a member of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics & Acoustics, and former Member of Council of the International Phonetic Association. He has done research for almost 35 years on similarities and differences between individuals in their speech, and has been undertaking forensic voice comparison case-work in Chinese and Australian English for about twenty years.

Prof Michael Wagner 
Michael Wagner is Professor of Computing and Head of Software Engineering in the School of Information Sciences and Engineering at the University of Canberra, and also director of its Human-Computer Communication Laboratory and former National Centre for Biometric Studies. Prof. Wagner’s homepage. He has a Diplomphysiker degree from the University of Munich, and a Ph.D in Computer Science from the Australian National University. He was the Principal Research Scientist of a large multimedia computer-user-authentication research and development project at the Australian National University.

Prof. Wagner has been a visiting researcher at the Universities of Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Duisburg, the Technical University of Munich, and at Siemens Research and Development Laboratories in Munich. Professor Wagner was the Foundation President of the Australian Speech Science and Technology Association. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, a Senior Member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and a Member of the Board of the International Speech Communication Association. He has been a member of the program committees of the International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Eurospeech, and International Speaker Recognition Workshops. His major research interests are speech and speaker recognition, biometric person authentication, audiovisual face-voice recognition and evolutionary ethics, but he also undertakes forensic voice comparison case-work.

Dr. Bronwen Innes 
Dr. Innes has a 2001 Ph.D in Linguistics from the University of Auckland. Before that she completed a BA and MA (Hons) at the Victoria University of Wellington, which included study of phonetics and phonology. She works as a consultant and researcher in the field of language and the law. Her work includes providing advice in legal cases (e.g. on speaker identification, transcripts), plain language training and editing, and research on language use in the courtroom.

Dr. Innes’ research interests include high rising terminal intonation in New Zealand (with an article to be published shortly in the Journal on Research on Language and Social Interaction), the discourse marker well, powerless language style and miscommunication in the courtroom. She has recently been awarded funding by the New Zealand Law Foundation to conduct a research project on judges’ summings-up for juries in New Zealand. She is a member of the Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association.

Dr Debbie Loakes 
Dr. Loakes holds a doctorate in forensic speaker recognition from Melbourne University, where she is currently working as sessional lecturer in Linguistics and research assistant. Her 2006 Ph.D. thesis examined the speech patterns of identical and non-identical twins and the extent to which they could be discriminated using Bayesian Likelihood Ratios. She has casework experience in contested utterances.

As well as forensic speaker identification, Dr. Loakes’ research interests include the phonetics of Australian languages, and connected speech processes and intonation in Australian English. Her publications include ‘Variation in Long-Term Fundamental Frequency: Measurements from Vocalic Segments in Twins’ Speech’‘Patterns of Frication in Australian English: An Analysis of /p t k/ in Connected Speech’, and From IPA to Praat and Beyond. She is a member of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics & Acoustics, the International Phonetics Association, the International Association of Forensic Linguists, and the Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association, and was elected to the Golden Key Honour Society.