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INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC

SCIENCE
DEFINITION, NATURE, NEED & FUNCTION
Dr. PRATEEK PANDYA
Course: Forensic Science
What is Forensic Science?
Many people, Many Definitions..
forensic science is science used for the
purpose of the law
relating to or dealing with the application of
scientific knowledge to legal problems by
Webster
Legal Problems
Criminal
Civil
Dr. Prateek Pandya
What is Forensic Science?
Dr. Prateek Pandya
What is Forensic Science?
A forensic scientist cannot handle all the subjects
Contributed by the specialists
Forensic Medicine: Related to Body.| M.D. in Medicine
True Forensic Science
Fingerprinting
DNA Analysis
Physical Evidence
Documents
Ballistics
Drug Analysis


Dr. Prateek Pandya
Crime rate in India
Dr. Prateek Pandya Rate: Number of IPC crimes per one lakh
Nagaland
Kerela
Pending cases in India
Dr. Prateek Pandya
What is Forensic Science?
Interpretation of Evidence
How evidence can be interpreted
Extent to which it can be relied upon


Dr. Prateek Pandya
What is Forensic Science?
Scientist vs Forensic Scientist
Scientist:
Scientific paper
Presentation in Conferences
Forensic Scientist: Approach
Report to the court
Convince the judge
Withstand the cross examination

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles of Forensic
Science
A general view is that there is no unity to
forensic science.
Chemistry, Biology
Forensic science does indeed have a unity!
concerned with drawing inferences relating to
an event that is the concern of a court from
individual items of non-replicable data.
Scientists in other fields use techniques that
do not provide and, in many cases, deny the
possibility of answers to such questions.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles of Forensic
Science
Forensic scientists therefore should think in
such terms, should qualify themselves in court
as forensic scientists and should more actively
question the qualifications of other scientists to
give evidence.
(Robertson and Vigneaux, 1995.)

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles of Forensic
Science
Forensic science is concerned with the
reconstruction of unique events attempting
to determine
what happened,
how it happened,
where and when it happened, and
who was involved.
Each crime occurs under a different
combination of circumstances affected by an
enormous number of variables, and is thus
nonreplicable.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles of Forensic
Science
forensic scientists deals with samples that are
limited in size and quality, and which have an
unknown history
legal process imposes unique constraints and
characteristics on forensic science
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles of Forensic
Science
Physical Evidence Process: 5 Stages

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Occurrence of
evidence
Forensic Scientist not present
Locard exchange principle: first
formulated by French forensic
scientist Edmond Locard

'every contact leaves a trace

means that whenever two objects
come into contact there will
always be a transfer of material
from one to the other.


Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Occurrence of
evidence
Dr. Prateek Pandya
The absence of evidence is evidence of absence
The absence of evidence is not necessarily
evidence of absence
Basic Principles: Exchange
principle
amount of time that passes
the nature of the recipient object
the environment and actions to which it is
subjected
Each new technological development which
increases the sensitivity of analytical methods
used by forensic scientists also increases the
importance of the Locards exchange principle.
DNA: a few epithelial cells can be sufficient at
times
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
recovery
Do no harm (evidence)
Nothing should be added, damaged or
obliterated in the recovery process
Particular attention should be paid to avoiding
contamination, a concern that gains increasing
importance with each advance in analytical
sensitivity.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
recovery
Where there is risk of losing or damaging
evidence, appropriate experts should be called
in.
Exhibit items should be safely and securely
packaged as soon as possible.
If an object is portable, transfer to the lab for
evidence recovery under controlled conditions.
Do no harm to yourself! Crime scenes and
recovered evidence may pose biological or
chemical hazards.
Health & safety measures for collecting and
transporting evidence.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Analysis
Use the scientific method.
The analysis stage is that part of forensic
science which most closely parallels other
sciences.
The steps of this method (observation, data
collection, conjecture, hypothesis, testing
results, theory) are followed, often
unconsciously, in answering scientific
questions.
Class Characteristics
Based on observations and data, forensic
scientists must first classify or identify recovered
evidence by placing it into a group of items with
similar characteristics.
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Analysis
Fibers
Polyester, Nylon, etc
Red colored nylon fiber
Firearm
Caliber
Rifling characteristics
Testing the hypothesis
Once an item has been classified, it can be
compared to another item from either a known
source or a legal standard to test if it matches.
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Analysis
Fibers
Polyester, Nylon, etc
Red colored nylon fiber
Firearm
Caliber
Rifling characteristics
Testing the hypothesis
Once an item has been classified, it can be
compared to another item from either a known
source or a legal standard to test if it matches.
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Analysis
It is only valid to compare items from the same
class.
questioned human scalp hairs must be compared
to known human scalp hairs and not to human
pubic hairs or wool fibers.
What about DNA from scalp hair?
Comparisons can be visual (e.g. microscopic),
graphical (infrared spectra of paints) or
numerical (refractive indices of glass samples,
melting points of synthetic fibers, etc.)

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Analysis
Comparisons:
Class characteristics
Accidental/individual characteristics


Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Individuality
Two objects may be indistinguishable but no
two objects are identical
Every object, natural or man made, has an
individuality, which is not duplicated, in any
other object. It is unique.
The ultimate goal of a forensic scientist is to be
able to uniquely identify or individualize an
object.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Individuality
forensic science generally involves
comparisons
How can a forensic scientist interpret this?
Experience and training
Some methods are sufficiently advanced that
individualization can also be achieved in
practice.
Fingerprints
DNA analysis

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Individuality
Some other fields, methods do not provide
individualization
Microscopic Hair comparison

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Individuality
Interpretation: Hypothesis testing
For the interpretation, it is important not just to
show that results are consistent with a given
hypothesis but also that they are inconsistent
with plausible alternative hypotheses.
Interpretation is the most common area of
dispute between forensic scientists.
Although they may agree on the results, two
forensic scientists may provide different
interpretations based on differing experience,
background information, assumptions and
other factors.


Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Presentation
Working within an ethical framework, a
forensic scientist should fully disclose and
present impartial evidence which is readily
understandable and neither overstated nor
understated.
Full disclosure of all facts, assumptions, data,
conclusions and interpretations should be
made.
Lab report: Complete & retained.
He or she should not be an advocate for either
side of the case at hand; it is, however, to be
expected that a forensic scientist will be an
advocate for his or her opinion.
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Basic Principles: Principle of
Presentation
However, the forensic scientist should be
prepared to change an opinion whenever
background circumstances or assumptions
change, or new information becomes
available.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Principle of Progressive Change
Everything changes with the passage of time.
Nothing is permanent- immutable or invariable.
The rate of changes varies with different
objects.

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Forensic Scientist
one who performs investigatory examinations
and laboratory tests to reach a conclusion
Crime Scene Investigation
Lab Analysis
a communicator and interpreter of those
finding he must be able to explain the
methods used to reach those conclusion in a
court of law
Report Results (oral and/or written)
Court Testimony

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Goals of a Forensic Scientist?
Demonstrate that a crime has been committed
Identify its victim and perpetrator(s)
Determine its modus operandi (method of
operation)

This is mostly performed by establishing links
between the crime scene, victim and the
prepetrator

Dr. Prateek Pandya
Goals of a Forensic Scientist?
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Crime Scene Team
A group of professional investigators, each
trained in a variety of special disciplines.
Team Members
First Police Officer on the scene
Medics (if necessary)
Investigator(s)
Medical Examiner or Representative (if
necessary)
Photographer and/or Field Evidence Technician
Lab Experts
Dr. Prateek Pandya
Crime Scene Team
Lab Experts
pathologist serologist
DNA expert toxicologist
forensic odontologist forensic anthropologist
forensic psychologist forensic entomologist
firearm examiner bomb and arson expert
document and handwriting experts
fingerprint expert

Dr. Prateek Pandya