Fire Scene Origin and Cause Investigations
Occupational Health & Safety
NZ Insurance Investigator / Claims Specialist of the Year 2010
Russell Joseph, Managing Director of Corporate Risks, is highly sought after and specialises in complex, large, commercial, litigious and multi-agency investigations. He maintains an overview of all Corporate Risks investigations, undertakes complex peer reviews and is a highly experienced expert witness. Russell was awarded NZ Insurance Investigator / Claims Specialist of the Year 2010.
Russell’s role within Corporate Risks has developed and evolved over the past 20 years and now focuses primarily on complex Corporate & Insurance investigations. Recent and high-profile investigations that he has undertaken include the New Zealand International Convention Centre and the Port Hills fires. He has also been engaged to offer expert opinion and to provide Court evidence in high profile investigations such as the Ashburton WINZ shooting and continues to offer expertise in the area of Work/Accident investigations. Russell spent many years completing Personal Safety & Security audits for Parliamentary Services and is frequently requested to undertake Council Security reviews and recommendations.
Russell’s key area of specialisation and expertise is in the area of fire investigation (Origin & Cause). He has become highly sought after in this area and has a well-established reputation for being a credible, highly respected, expert witness in protracted court proceedings. He utilizes his skills and expertise in creating detailed 3D scene modelling which is often a key aspect of his evidence and is used effectively in Court to aid in the sharing of complex details. He will also often incorporate aerial drone footage into his reporting, including the overlaying of multiple images to highlight areas of importance.
Russell commenced his career as a Specialist Fire Investigator in the private sector in 1999, subsequently investigating fire scenes in New Zealand, Fiji, Norfolk Island, Samoa and American Samoa. He has investigated over 3000 fires during the course of a career combining 19 years’ experience in the New Zealand Police and a further 21 years’ in the private sector fire investigation industry. He has extensive court experience and has given evidence in New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia. This includes the District Court, High Court and tribunal hearings.
During his time in the NZ Police CIB, Russell received a Commendation for Outstanding Investigation in 1996 which led to the conviction of a serving Police Detective for Arson and Fraud. This was a complex inquiry which required not only an in-depth scene examination but also the testing of several hypotheses.
Russell qualified as a Detective in 1988, Uniform Sergeant in 1991 and Detective Sergeant in 1994. As a Detective Sergeant he managed the Organised Crime Unit for the Wellington Metropolitan CIB and was the New Zealand Police Fire Investigation Expert, managing serial arson investigations, fires of suspicious nature and fires involving death. He completed the combined New Zealand Police and Fire Service’s Fire Investigator's Course and later took over the facilitation of the course, re-writing the Police manual for fire investigation.
In 1996 Russell completed a course of study at the Tasmania Police Academy for Fire and Arson Investigators. In addition, he also graduated from the SAC-PAV Bomb Scene examiners course, hosted by the Victoria Police Academy, in preparation for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. This was an in-depth course which included units in chemistry and electronics. The participants were required, at the completion of the course, to investigate a bomb scene, locate and identify all components from the explosive device and reconstruct that device. During the period of 1996 – 1997 he investigated and reconstructed an explosive device which detonated on the lap of a Malaysian national visiting New Zealand and subsequently gave evidence in the Malaysian High Court. His testimony was accepted as expert evidence.
Russell liaises closely with the entire CR team. This includes the Investigation Manager and all CR Investigators where he maintains a watching brief over all ongoing investigations. He is often requested to provide a high-level peer review of another agency’s reporting into a fire and works to maintain a close working relationship with all Corporate Risks clients. He frequently offers support & advice in the development of revised and updated policies, as identified through the investigation process.
Russell is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), member and Past President of the NZ chapter (NZAFI), has continued to attend various international conferences and domestic seminars, and has kept up to date with current investigation techniques used by International Fire Investigators.
Corporate Risks now investigates in excess of 300 fires annually.
MANAGING DIRECTOR & SPECIALIST FIRE INVESTIGATOR
Qualified to Detective Senior Sergeant Level NZ Police
Past President NZAFI - NZ Chapter
Australian Fire & Arson Investigation Course
SAC-PAV Bomb Scene Examiners Course (Australia)
Accredited Safety Auditor
CORPORATE RISKS LTD