FORENSIC SCIENCE INTRODUCTION
What is Forensic Science?
What is the relationship between forensic science and the law? A general definition is that forensic science involves ‘the use of science in the investigation of crime by the police and by the courts as evidence in resolving an issue in any subsequent trial.’’ The point of forensic science is to generate forensic evidence, that is, to establish a material fact in issue. So, if it is clear on the evidence that a death was intentional and the issue before the jury to decide is whether or not the accused caused the death, then the forensic link via DNA or fingerprint between the accused and a murder weapon will go towards establishing that fact in issue.
Kiely says that forensic evidence comes to the law in either or both of two forms. The first is as a class characteristic statement, for example. that the hair fibre found comes from a human or an animal or perhaps from a Caucasian or and Asian male, or the approximate age of the body whose bones have been located. The second is a more specific individual statement that forensically links suspect A to the crime scene, for example hair fibres consistent with the suspect that have been found at the crime scene.
The term forensic evidence contains two concepts. The term forensic refers to the process by which facts are generated, that is, the mechanism by which fingerprints are obtained and matched while the evidence aspect refers to the process of using the forensic ‘facts’ in litigation.
The Crime Scene
The crime scene may consist of more than just the location in which the crime occurred. Four possible crime scenes are:
1. The actual crime scene, which may be, for example a body stabbed to death, and the knife left by the side of the body.
2. The crime scene material that is collected at the scene: for example where the perpetrator or accused has left the murder weapon, and possibly his bloody fingerprints at the crime...