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Role and Importance of Forensic Expert in Crime Investigation:


In a system of Criminal trial, it is the entitlement duty of the State to prosecute a person accused
of an offense. The criminal law considers an accused as innocent until his guilt is proven beyond
reasonable doubt. So the State must prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. The defendant has
the right to defend himself against the charge and to relieve himself from the clutches of the charge
leveled against him.
The evidence collected through modern scientific techniques such as forensic techniques
engages before the court and are considered for the claims they provide. However, this was not the
situation until recent before, due to the lack of the scientific illiteracy of the lawyers, judges to
argue or decide the issues engaged in those cases.
Every step in the criminal process must be taken with caution to avoid miscarriages of the
justice of the accused. It is stated that either that 10 guilty men should escape rather than letting
the innocent man tolerate and suffer for the crimes he did not commit. So, it is the responsibility
of the judicial system, to be provided with unadulterated evidence that an innocent man should not
be accused and convicted of the crimes someone else committed.
For almost 50 years, since the publication of Police and Science and Technology (1967), there
have been remarkable advancements in the growth of Forensic Science in serving Criminal Justice
system. Sophisticated scientific techniques have been employed to examine and interpret physical
clues retrieved from the crime scene. Due to increasing Crime rates, the Forensic laboratories have
multiplied almost four fold since the 1970s. It is worth mentioning that breakthrough in the DNA
testing that uniquely determines the source of biological substances have pressurized of the Police
and courts to increased their reliance on more objective forms of evidence.
In the 1970s and 1980s, several studies looked at the effects of the physical evidence on the
outcomes of the police investigations and prosecutions.
The Rand Corporation study (et al, 1975) was highly critical of detective activities,
determinative in predicting if a crime would be solved based on the first class of evidence
collected. The original and old investigation techniques and physical evidence retrieving played
little role in solving crimes. This study also showed that the fingerprints and the physical evidence
obtained from the crime scene only lead to the conviction of the one percent of the offenders.
Forst (et al., 1977) examined the outcome of cases after the arrest. They found that the 70%
of the arrests did not lead to the conviction of the person. The following are the factors that chained
down to the takedown of the suspect: location of two or more witness, by minimization of time
from crime incidence to arrest, and the presence of tangible evidence.
Keeping that apart, the study did not define the role of tangible evidence, or if it was examined
at the crime laboratory.
Boland (et al., 1989) study showed that on average only about half of the police arrests
resulted in the formal charging by the prosecutor, of this 70-80 % resulted in a conviction; the vast
majority (90%) was resolved through a plea and only 10% had actually gone through trial.
Studies of burglaries by Stanford Research Institute (Greenberg et al., 1973) and the Police
Executive Research Forum (Eck 1979) identified the key variables, including usable fingerprints,
predicted the case outcome in 85% of cases.
A British Study (Ramsay, et al., 1987) found that forensic laboratories provided helpful
information to the police in about three-quarters of the cases, where the suspects have been
identified. It is also been found that less than 40% cases were without suspects.
DEFINITION OF FORENSIC SCIENCE
Forensic science is the use of science in the service of law. Forensic sciences include any
principles that aid in the collection of samples, then preservation of those samples, and analysis of
evidence by using Chemistry (for examination and identification of chemical explosives),
Engineering (for examining structural designs), and Biology (for Finger printing, DNA analysis)
techniques.
A forensic scientist is an expert in any technical field and can provide an analysis of the
evidence, examination results, technical support and even training in his or her area of expertise.
Analysis of this forensic evidence is helpful in the investigation crimes, to establish the real identity
of the culprit.
Forensic evidence is also used to link crimes that are thought to be related to each other, for
example, DNA evidence can link one same offender to various other crimes or crime scenes or
even exonerate the accused. Linking crimes help law enforcements authorities to narrow down the
possible range of suspects and to establish patterns of for crimes, which are helpful to identify and
to prosecute the suspects.
To maintain the quality, standard and highest accuracy of the forensic analysis, forensic
scientists are working on developing new techniques and procedures for collection, and analysis
of the evidence. Hence, in doing so we can use the newer techniques and provided without
impurities to not only to keep forensic scientists on the new horizons of science and to keep high
standards when dealing with the quality and accuracy of the results.
The Forensic analysis is usually carried out by the experts working individually or in teams to
gather evidence. The more advanced techniques require laboratories where the controlled
observations can be monitored and investigated. Forensic labs can be small or large either
supported by government or private laboratories. This forensic analysis of the evidence can be
used to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects during an investigation and prosecution
of civil and criminal proceedings. The different types of methods can be used in forensic science
and to increase their acceptability in the legal court system.

USE OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE


Fisher, (et al 2004) suggested essential uses of forensic evidence to criminal investigations are
listed below.
a) To prove a crime if that has been committed by a suspect.
b) To establish key elements of a crime leading to the revelation of the suspect.
c) To place the suspect with respect to involvement with the victim or with the crime scene.
d) To determine the identity of persons associated with the crime.
e) To exonerate the innocent, if not guilty.
f) To confirm or give support to the victims testimony.
g) To assist in placing the facts of what had occurred.
Many hours are devoted by the police personnel for the collection of the forensic evidence along
with the analysis of the data taken, starting with the crime scene and continuing throughout the
entire investigation process. Forensic evidence is nowadays always preferred by the prosecutors
to prove the guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. The recent trend suggests that most of the jurors
expect forensic evidence to be presented. The failure of presentation of the forensic evidence most
often suggests and plants doubts in their minds regarding the same. So it is in Courts best interests
that they have made provided with physical evidence to make important decisions, this limits the
reliance on the statements and confessions of the defendants, thus making the court process more
smooth and fast.

TYPES OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE


Several forensic authorities have developed typologies for forensic evidence. They include
and cover a wide variety of forensic evidence collected at crime scenes: Fingerprints, impression
evidence (like tire tracks or shoe prints); hair and fibers, tissue samples handwriting (graphology)
evidence, firearms, knives, glass fragments, biological evidence (saliva, semen), drug evidence,
trace evidence and entomological evidence.
Biological evidence:
Blood and saliva are the two of the most important biological evidence in forensics.
Blood evidence can be retrieved from the or during the autopsy (WET BLOOD) or the blood
obtained from the Blood stains from the crime scenes like in the form of SWABS.
Saliva evidence is prepared or produced from the buccal swabs, usually from the victim or the
suspect.
Seminal stains, urine, and perspiration are the other types of biological evidence

FIGURE REPRESENTING THE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE


The main aim in any of this biological evidence is to go through a process called DNA
profiling. DNA is a double stranded polymer that is involved the genetic inheritance factor. The
uniqueness of the DNA in each individual helps in determining the culprit. One DNA will belong
to only one person, hence DNA profiling of the biological evidence is utmost important.

Weapons evidence:
-Firearms like handguns, rifles, assault weapons etc.
-Ammunition, for example, spent casings, fired projectiles, fragments of the bullet, and also
including unfired bullets.
-Gunshot residue (GSR) tests serving the purpose of determining whether an individual was close
enough when the firearm was discharged
- Knives left at the crime scene.
This will help to raise the obliterated serial numbers in firearms, which are recorded in an attempt
to find the registered owner of the weapon. This also allows in dusting off fingerprints, blood
stains, tissues, gunshot residues from the weapon.
FIGURE SHOWING THE TRAIL OF EVIDENCE

Fingerprint evidence:
Fingerprints are available for both hands and palms as in the case of fingerprinting a victim or
suspect. This type is said to complete 10-prints.
Latent prints are so called only if when partial prints of one or more fingers are available.
Finger prints are obtained through powdering technique. This is done on the physical evidence
such as weapons, vehicle, doorknobs, glass wares etc. Like DNA, the fingerprints on each and
every individual is different. It is also worth mentioning that even the both hands do not have same
prints. Similarly, identical twins also do not have same fingerprints or no same DNA homology.
Experts in the field analyze the fingerprints obtained from the crime scene based on the friction
ridges left behind.

FIGURE REPRESENTING FINGER-PRINTING

Drug evidence:
-Drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine (meth), lysergic acid (LSD), and other
hallucinogens.
-Drug paraphernalia (pipes, spoons, etc.) found at a scene, are packed and sent to the drug analysis
and results are interpreted for the accused. The drug type and its mental effects are analyzed and
detail drafts are made.
FIGURE REPRESENTING DRUG EVIDENCE

Impressions evidence:
Include Shoe print impressions, tire tracks, and tool marks.
Trace evidence:
Trace evidence refers to small, sometimes microscopic, material or elements.
Include fibers, hairs, building materials (such as asbestos, paint, etc.), cigarette butts, glass pieces,
and others. These are sent for chemical analysis and DNA profiling if possible

Natural/Synthetic Materials:
Include clothing, bed and bath material, carpets, metal objects, plastic, and paper. These
objects may contain various degrees of incriminating material evidence to prove guilt or innocence
of the accused.
Electronic/Printed Data:
Electronic data includes computers, cell phones etc., confiscated for the analogous memory of
data. They represent the soft copy, can be analyzed with and through computer experts, cyber cell.
Printed data represents the hard copy, which can contain the data in relation to the crime.
Handwriting evidence:
Handwriting is considered as the brain wave signal, which forms the writing changes based
on the emotions of the person. The study of handwriting is called graphology. The handwriting
analysis is established on the basis that no two individual cannot have same handwriting, but its
variation. In the case of suicide notes, it can be compared with the normal notes and the pikes in
the handwriting.
Other Items:
All the other things that do not fall under any of above category.

THE INDIAN SCENARIO:


As per Section 45 of Indian Evidence Act 1872- When an opinion has to be formed by the
Court based upon different point of view, the Court can place its faith in the skills of an expert. An
expert is a person who forms statement conclusions based on his or area of expertise, with what
that have been provided.
This expertise level varies from foreign law, science, art, handwriting, finger print impressions,
etc. The court will bona fide the statement of proof concluded by the Expert based on the basis of
scientific skills. Expert evidence helps the courts to come to a conclusion on and about the
evidences provided, and derived from these experts.

CONCLUSION
Forensic evidence crucially plays an important role in helping courts of law to arrive at a
logical conclusion. Expert witness plays a major role in the modern age to look onto the outcome
of the case. So if good experts do not fill in the court attendance, the lesser professional would fill
in this gap, this might ultimately affect the justice itself. As quoted before, It is stated that either
that 10 guilty men should escape rather than letting the innocent man tolerate and suffer for the
crimes he did not commit, a good forensic or medical expert can almost out rule the fate of the
accused.