About this event

  • Date and time Tue 23 Nov 2021 from 6:45pm to 8:30pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine

Join this annual event, run for the 8th time, that will highlight the interaction of clinical forensic practice and the law. This webinar will introduce students and trainees to the variety of work in forensic medicine such that it may inspire an interest to find out more.

During this session, participants will be able:

  • To gain an understanding of some aspects of clinical forensic practice
  • To know about the benefits of a student elective in forensic medicine
  • To describe the role of the clinician in:
    • The Medical Examiner
    • Forensic Odontology 
    • Forensic Psychiatry 
    • Sexual Offence Medicine

This webinar is available for on-demand viewing. The webinar recording will be available for registered delegates up to 30 days after the live webinar broadcast via Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

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Key speakers

Dr Elsa Desmond

Dr Elsa Desmond

Foundation Year 1 Doctor, General Surgery, Southend University Hospital, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Speaker's biography

Dr Elsa Desmond trained at Kings College London and is currently a Foundation doctor completing her General Surgery rotation at Southend hospital. With a keen interest in Forensic Medicine and Sexual Offences Medicine, she undertook her final year medical student Elective Career development period at The Havens London Sexual Assault Referral Centres. Dr Desmond hopes to one day train to be a Sexual Offences Examiner alongside a career in emergency medicine or anaesthetics.

Dr Frances Cranfield

Dr Frances Cranfield

General Practitioner, Assistant Coroner for Hertfordshire and Lead for Medical Examiners, Royal College of General Practitioners

Speaker's biography

Dr Frances Cranfield is a senior partner in her general practice and is Assistant Coroner for Hertfordshire.  She is a Past President of the Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine Section, Royal Society of Medicine, a founder member of the Expert Witness Institute, a Founder Member and Fellow of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine and gave evidence at the Shipman Inquiry. She sits on the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners and is college lead for Medical Examiners and sits on the Royal College of Pathologists Medical Examiners Committee and Notification of Deaths Committee


Melanie Clarkson

Wing Commander Melanie Clarkson

Lead Forensic Dental Officer, Defence Dental Identification Team, Defence Medical Services, Strategic Command

Speaker's biography

Melanie Clarkson qualified as a dentist in June 2003 after studying at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry. On graduation, Melanie followed her interest in joining the Royal Air Force as a Direct Entrant Dental Officer in August 2003 and has been working ever since as a General Dental Practitioner in the RAF.


She completed her elective in Toronto, Canada in 2002. She completed a 3-year part-time MSc at the University of Glamorgan, Wales, graduating with distinction in 2011 and has been on the Defence Dental Identification Team since 2008, becoming Lead in 2014.


Recent forensic Disaster Victim Identifications include Grenfell Tower, Leicester Shop Fire and the Leicester Helicopter Crash at King Power Football Stadium. She was awarded the Order of St John in 2019 and currently works as Staff Officer Clin Ops Dental in Defence Medical Services Headquarters, Whittington.

Dr Christopher Clark

Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Mental Health Tribunal Service


View the programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr Bernadette Butler, President, Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine Section, Royal Society of Medicine and Forensic Physician, The Havens, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

A student elective in forensic medicine

Dr Elsa Desmond, Foundation Year 1 Doctor, General Surgery, Southend University Hospital, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Introduction to forensic odontology

Wing Commander Melanie Clarkson, Lead Forensic Dental Officer, Defence Dental Identification Team, Defence Medical Services, Strategic Command

The role of the forensic psychiatrist in parole decisions

Dr Christopher Clark, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Mental Health Tribunal Service

The role of the medical examiner

Dr Frances Cranfield, General Practitioner, Assistant Coroner, Hertfordshire and Medical Examiner Lead,  Royal College of General Practitioners, Hall Grove Group Practice, Welwyn Garden City Coroner’s Office

A brief introduction to sexual offence medicine

Dr Bernadette Butler

Closing remarks



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM.

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted. 

Special rates for difficult times
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s ​weekly COVID-19 Series ​webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

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