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Science & Justice
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.033
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 446  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1355-0306
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3182 journals]
  • Bridging the gap between academia and practice: perspectives from two
           large-scale and niche research projects in Canada
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): D.V. Beresford, T. Stotesbury, S.V. Langer, M. Illes, C. Kyle, B. Yamashita There is a recognized disconnect in priority and synergy between academic and practitioners in forensic science. In this work, we personally reflect on our experiences in conducting research studies that directly involve academic and practitioner stakeholders. We believe, amongst others, that this “gap” can be mitigated through regular and productive communication. We also emphasize the need to create stronger and national research strategies which identifies the current and pressing needs of enforcement officials in order to bring these needs directly to academia. As part of this, researchers should actively seek to make sure what they study will be relevant within the discipline. Our reflection is geared on direct feedback from an entomological study in large scale sampling of blowflies and workshops in bloodstain pattern analysis using the research and development of a forensic blood substitute.
  • The optimisation of fingermark enhancement by VMD and Lumicyano™ on
           thermal paper
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Paul B. Sherriffs, Kevin J. Farrugia, Joanna M. Fraser, Benjamin J. Jones The enhancement of fingermarks on thermal paper can be challenging due to background staining caused by polar solvents used in fingermark enhancement techniques such as ninhydrin. This study explored a commercial one-step superglue fuming process, Lumicyano™, and Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) to develop fingermarks on this substrate and overcome this issue. Different sequential treatments involving Lumicyano™ and a combination of VMD methods were investigated with varying degrees of success with some sequences being highly sensitive. The VMD processes, however, were observed to generally be more effective at enhancing marks, whereas Lumicyano™ provided little or no benefit on this paper type. The results indicate that Lumicyano™ is only beneficial as a pre-treatment when the entire sequence of gold/zinc and silver/zinc is taken to completion. The gold/zinc and silver/zinc VMD processes were optimised on five different thermal papers, and the optimised techniques were then directly compared to determine which was more successful on each thermal paper type as a single treatment.
  • Geomatic Techniques in Forensic Science: A Review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Victoria Berezowski, Xanthé Mallett, Ian Moffat The purpose of this review paper is to highlight various geomatic techniques that crime scene reconstructionists or forensic practitioners can use to document different kinds of scenes, highlighting the advantages, disadvantages, and when best to use each technology. This paper explores geomatic techniques such as a total station, photogrammetry, laser scanners and structured light scanners and how they can be used to reconstruct crime scenes. The goal of this paper is not to discredit manual methods, as they are long standing and reliable, but instead to shed light on alternative methods that may produce equally or more accurate results with a more visually appealing final product. It is important for law enforcement and forensic professionals to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each technique, knowing when certain techniques should be used (and when they should not), and being able to revert to traditional methods if required.
  • Establishing phone-pair co-usage by comparing mobility patterns
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Wauter Bosma, Sander Dalm, Erwin van Eijk, Rachid el Harchaoui, Edwin Rijgersberg, Hannah Tereza Tops, Alle Veenstra, Rolf Ypma In forensic investigations it is often of value to establish whether two phones were used by the same person during a given time period. We present a method that uses time and location of cell tower registrations of mobile phones to assess the strength of evidence that any pair of phones were used by the same person. The method is transparant as it uses logistic regression to discriminate between the hypotheses of same and different user, and a standard kernel density estimation to quantify the weight of evidence in terms of a likelihood ratio. We further add to previous theoretical work by training and validating our method on real world data, paving the way for application in practice. The method shows good performance under different modelling choices and robustness under lower quantity or quality of data. We discuss practical usage in court.
  • Communicating forensic scientific expertise: An analysis of expert reports
           and corresponding testimony in Tasmanian courts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Carmen A. Reid, Loene M. Howes Forensic criminology examines the use of forensic science in society. Justice can be hampered, for example, if the communication of forensic scientific findings is unclear or misleading, even if unintentionally. Although various recommendations guide the communication of forensic science, it is unclear whether they are reflected in practice. This study explored the communication of forensic biology in 10 cases of major crimes against the person heard in the Tasmanian Supreme Court, where the standard practice is to issue brief summary reports in the first instance. The content of expert reports and corresponding testimony was analysed to determine its adherence to recommendations outlined in standards, practice notes, and research. While reports were found to be very brief, testimony elaborated on all major elements. Mostly elicited by the prosecution, some elements were volunteered by expert witnesses, or raised by defence. Overall, expert evidence in courts—but not reports (due to the use of brief summary reports)—largely adhered to recommendations. Further research is needed to determine the prevalence and effectiveness of alternative approaches to communication that were identified in certain cases.
  • Estimating the quantity of transferred DNA in primary and secondary
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Lydie Samie, Franco Taroni, Christophe Champod
  • Prevalence of organic gunshot residues in police vehicles
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Anne-Laure Gassner, Céline Weyermann The present study investigated the organic gunshot residue (OGSR) background level of police vehicles in Switzerland. Specimens from 64 vehicles belonging to two regional police services were collected and analysed by LC-MS in positive mode. The driver’s and back seats were sampled separately to monitor potential differences between locations and to assess the risks of a suspect being contaminated by OGSR during transportation to a police station.The results showed that most of the 64 vehicles were uncontaminated (44 driver’s seats and 38 back seats respectively). Up to six of the seven targeted compounds were detected in a single sample, once on a driver’s seat and twice on back seats. The contamination frequency generally decreased as the number of compounds detected together increased. The amounts detected were in the low ng range and less than amounts generally detected just after discharge on a shooter. Our data indicated that detecting a combination of four or more compounds on a police vehicle seat appears to be a relatively rare occurrence. The background contamination observed was most probably due to secondary transfer from police officers (e.g. through recent participation in a shooting session or firearm manipulation) or from firearms stored in the vehicles. The present results might be used as a recommendation to minimize contact of a suspect with contaminated surfaces if OGSR is implemented in routine work in parallel to IGSR analysis.
  • Image conditions for machine-based face recognition of juvenile faces
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ching Yiu Jessica Liu, Caroline Wilkinson
  • The identification of individuals by observational gait analysis using
           closed circuit television footage: comparing the ability and confidence of
           experienced and non-experienced analysts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ivan Birch, Maria Birch, Nadia Asgeirsdottir Gait is known to have been used as evidence since 1839, initially based on the apocryphal belief that a person can be identified by their gait. The potential uniqueness of gait has yet to be proven, and therefore gait is currently considered to be a contributor to identification rather than a method of identification. In 2013 Birch et al [1] published the findings of an investigation into the ability of individuals with experience in gait analysis to identify people by observing features of gait recorded by closed circuit television cameras. The study showed that the participants made correct decisions in 71% of cases, significantly better than would have been expected to have occurred by chance. However, the presentation of gait evidence is not limited to witnesses with experience in gait analysis. This study compared the abilities and confidence of participants with experience in gait analysis with those of participants with no experience of gait analysis using the methodology of Birch et al 2013 [1]. The results showed no statistically significant difference in the number of correct identification decisions made by the two groups of participants, although the participants with experience of gait analysis made slightly more false negative than false positive decisions, whereas the participants with no experience made more false positive than false negative decisions. The participants with no experience in gait analysis reported significantly more confidence in their decisions than did the participants with experience (p
  • Validation of Presumptive Tests for Non-Human Blood using Kastle Meyer and
           Hemastix Reagents
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 October 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): F. Casali, S.A. Ciavaglia, C. Gannicliffe, N. Lidstone, L.M.I. Webster Kastle Meyer and Hemastix reagents are presumptive tests commonly used in forensic casework for the detection of blood, and their suitability has been reviewed in numerous publications. However, studies to date have focused on the validation of these tests on human blood alone, and no published work has looked at the sensitivity, specificity and effect on DNA analysis when using these reagents to presumptively test for animal blood. The aim of this study was to validate the two reagents for use with animal blood, and compare their performance in order to choose the best test based on the circumstances in wildlife crime investigation.The sensitivity, specificity, stability and robustness of the methods were assessed by experiments with dilutions of animal blood (from 1:4 to 1:65596) using direct and indirect (rub) tests, potential interfering substances, blood sources from different species and aged blood. The effects of the two reagents on subsequent DNA analysis were also investigated.During the direct tests, Kastle Meyer showed a higher sensitivity, detecting blood down to a dilution of 1:16384, one order of magnitude lower than Hemastix. However during the rub test, Hemastix showed a higher sensitivity, detecting blood down to a dilution of 1:64 on porous materials while Kastle Meyer was positive only down to a dilution of 1:16. Moreover, when using the same swab for presumptive testing and DNA extraction, Hemastix testing allowed amplification of a sufficient amount of DNA for species identification at its limit of sensitivity on porous materials (1:64) while Kastle Meyer inhibited most amplification of DNA at its less sensitive limit of 1:16 dilution. On the other hand, Hemastix showed a much lower specificity, producing false positive results when exposed to tomato, potato, rust, avian uric acid, bleach and sink rot, while Kastle Meyer only produced a faint positive reaction from potato. Both tests performed equally well detecting fresh blood of different animal species. The stability test gave comparable results among the tests except for aged fish blood stains, where the Kastle Meyer test performed poorly.Owing to its ease of use, higher sensitivity, and lack of interference with downstream DNA analysis, and despite its reduced specificity compared to Kastle Meyer, the Hemastix method is more appropriate for use in wildlife crime investigations. Positive results would always be confirmed with DNA analysis and the low interference of the reagent will allow the use of a single swab for presumptive testing and DNA sampling.
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 6Author(s):
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 6Author(s):
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 6Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 6Author(s):
  • Comparison of three collection methods for the sodium rhodizonate
           detection of gunshot residues on hands
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 September 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Denis Werner, Anne-Laure Gassner, Jorina Marti, Stephan Christen, Philipp Wyss, Céline Weyermann The aim of this study was to compare three gunshot residue (GSR) collection methods used in conjunction with chemographic detection applied by different regional Swiss police services. The specimens were collected from the hands of a shooter with either filter paper (Filter method) or adhesive foil. The adhesive foil was then either applied against photographic paper during visualisation (AF Photo method) or coated with a layer of polyvinyl alcohol (AF PVAL method). The experiments involved two conditions of the examined hands, i.e. dry and humidified. The residues were revealed using the sodium rhodizonate test (SRT). Preliminary tests assessing the possibility of conducting a confirmatory Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled to Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) analysis after the chemographic test were performed on a number of specimens by cutting positive spots and mounting them on stubs. Obtained results were compared in terms of effectiveness - number of positive spots, time requirements, quality of subsequent SEM-EDX analysis, ease of use and cost.The Filter method generally yielded a high-quality detection with both dry and humidified hands, as well as a simple, quick and efficient confirmation by SEM/EDX. The AF Photo performed well on dry hands, but not on humidified hands. The AF PVAL method performance was lower compared to the other methods in both examined conditions of the hands. The SEM/EDX analysis showed that the Filter and AF PVAL method provided satisfactory results when a sufficient carbon coating thickness was applied to the cuttings. It was also observed that the thinner the PVAL layer, the better the quality of the spectra and obtained images in SEM/EDX. Furthermore, the surface of the photographic paper did not seem to be conductive, even after the application of a thick layer of carbon.In conclusion, the Filter method gave the best overall results, but its application required slightly more time and expertise than the two other methods.
  • Persistence of transferred fragrance on fabrics for forensic
           reconstruction applications
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 September 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Simona Gherghel, Ruth M. Morgan, Javier F. Arrebola-Liébanas, Chris S. Blackman, Antonia Garrido-Frenich, Ivan P. Parkin It has recently been established that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) successfully transfer between clothing even with a short contact of 10 s, highlighting the potential to use VOCs in forensic reconstruction scenarios, such as sexual assault cases. The mid and low volatility compounds transferred in greater amounts than high volatility compounds. This study presents empirical data addressing the persistence of transferred VOCs on clothing for the first time. A series of experiments were carried out to determine the persistence of VOCs on clothing for time periods of up 4 weeks, on natural and synthetic fibres, and at three different environmental temperatures. The data indicate that the highest VOC amounts are generally obtained for shorter persistence times of up to 1 d. Whilst high volatility compounds were not recovered in sufficient amounts to allow quantification, the four other transferred VOCs were successfully quantified for persistence times of up to 4 weeks. The persistence for mid-volatility compounds follows decay curve trends in line with those previously obtained for fibres, glass and pollen. When comparing the persistence of VOCs on a natural and a synthetic fibre, for a persistence time of 1 h, the transferred VOCs were retained on a natural fibre in higher amounts than on a synthetic fibre. However, for longer persistence times the concentration of VOCs was similar between the two fabrics. Lastly, lower environmental temperatures resulted in higher recoveries for most VOCs, especially for short persistence times. These findings demonstrate that optimal recovery of VOCs from clothing occurs when the fabric is kept at cooler temperatures and analysed soon after the fragrance transfer occurred, although VOC recovery was possible at higher temperatures and after longer persistence times. Given the transfer and persistence characteristics of VOCs from fragrance, there is potential for fragrance to be used as a form of trace in forensic reconstruction approaches.
  • Combining evidence in complex cases - a practical approach to
           interdisciplinary casework
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jan A. de Koeijer, Marjan J. Sjerps, Peter Vergeer, Charles E.H. Berger Activity level evaluations, although still a major challenge for many disciplines, bring a wealth of possibilities for a more formal approach to the evaluation of interdisciplinary forensic evidence. This paper proposes a practical methodology for combining evidence from different disciplines within the likelihood ratio framework. Evidence schemes introduced in this paper make the process of combining evidence more insightful and intuitive thereby assisting experts in their interdisciplinairy evaluation and in explaining this process to the courts.When confronted with two opposing scenarios and multiple types of evidence, the likelihood ratio approach allows experts to combine this evidence in a probabilistic manner. Parts of the prosecution and defence scenarios for which forensic science is expected to be informative are identified. For these so called core elements, activity level propositions are formulated. Afterwards evidence schemes are introduced to assist the expert in combining the evidence in a logical manner. Two types of evidence relations are identified: serial and parallel evidence. Practical guidelines are given on how to deal with both types of evidence relations when combining the evidence.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • A cultural change to enable improved decision-making in forensic science:
           A six phased approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Helen Earwaker, Sherry Nakhaeizadeh, Nadine M. Smit, Ruth M. Morgan There has been an increased engagement by researchers in understanding the decision-making processes that occur within forensic science. There is a rapidly growing evidence base underpinning our understanding of decision-making and human factors and this body of work is the foundation for achieving truly improved decision-making in forensic science. Such an endeavour is necessary to minimise the misinterpretation of scientific evidence and maximize the effectiveness of crime reconstruction approaches and their application within the criminal justice system. This paper proposes and outlines a novel six phased approach for how a broadening and deepening knowledge of decision-making in forensic science can be articulated and incorporated into the spheres of research, practice, education, and policy making within forensic science specifically, and the criminal justice system more generally. Phases 1 and 2 set out the importance of systematic examination of the decisions which play a role throughout forensic reconstruction and legal processes. Phase 3 focuses on how these decisions can, and should, be studied to understand the underlying mechanisms and contribute to reducing the occurrence of misleading decisions. Phase 4 highlights the ways in which the results and implications of this research should be communicated to the forensic community and wider criminal justice system. Lastly, the way in which the forensic science domain can move forwards in managing the challenges of human decision-making and create and embed a culture of acceptance and transparency in research, practice and education (learning and training) are presented in phases 5 and 6. A consideration of all 6 connected phases offers a pathway for a holistic approach to improving the transparency and reproducibility of decision making within forensic science.
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
  • Prelim 3: Contents
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Science & Justice, Volume 59, Issue 5Author(s):
  • Development of a specific fragmentation pattern-based
           quadrupole-Orbitrap™ mass spectrometry method to screen drugs in illicit
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ji Hyun Lee, Han Na Park, Nam Sook Kim, Seongsoo Park, Yong-Moon Lee, Hoil Kang Over the past decade, illicit drugs have been founded in marketed products, which pose a risk to public health. In particular, newly designed analogues synthesized by chemical modification of parent compounds to avoid detection by authorities are frequently detected worldwide. Although many analytical methods for determination of drugs have been reported, analytical methods using high-resolution mass spectrometry, which has the advantage of rapid screening and accurate identification of new substances, are necessary to control illicit drugs in marketed products. In this study, a rapid analytical method using an Orbitrap™ mass spectrometer for identification of illicit drugs in marketed products was developed. The 32 drugs were classified as benzodiazepine-, synthetic cannabinoid-, amphetamine- and benzylpiperazine-type drugs according to their chemical structures, and from their fragmentation patterns in tandem mass spectrometry spectra of an established method. The method validation gave a limit of detection of 0.06–5.30 ng/mL and a limit of quantification of 0.18–16.50 ng/mL, high linearity (R2 > 0.994) and mean recoveries of spiked matrix-blank samples ranging from 83.7% to 117.1%. Approximately 71% of 21 samples collected over 3 years were found to individually contain one of four types of benzodiazepines or two different synthetic cannabinoids. In one case, levels as high as 827.2 mg/g were measured suggesting adulteration at high levels, which suggests that potential illicit products containing drugs should be regularly screened to protect public health.
  • The value of eye-tracking technology in the analysis and interpretations
           of skeletal remains: A pilot study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sherry Nakhaeizadeh, Ruth M. Morgan, Viktor Olsson, Martin Arvidsson, Tim Thompson This initial study is the first to use eye-trackers as a tool in order to study gaze pattern strategies and decision making processes involved in the assessment of skeletal remains. Three experienced participants were asked to wear eye-tracking glasses (Tobii Pro Glasses 2) when estimating sex and age-at-death of one set of skeletal remains from a known archeological sample. The study assessed participants' fixation points (the features of the skeleton focused on), fixation duration (the total time spent on each assessment and feature) as well as visit count and duration (the total number of visits and the duration of visits to particular areas). The preliminary results of this study identified differences in gaze “strategies” with regards to fixation points, visit duration, and visit counts between the participants. The data generated provide a starting point for assessing how such technologies could be used in order to more fully understand the decision making processes involved in forensic anthropological interpretations and their role in forensic reconstructions.
  • Rapid and non-destructive identification of claws using ATR-FTIR
           spectroscopy–A novel approach in wildlife forensics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Chandra Prakash Sharma, Sweety Sharma, Vishal Sharma, Rajinder SinghGraphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Evaluation of a Hot Print System for the development of latent fingermarks
           on thermal paper: A pseudo-operational trial
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Kiera Robb, Paul Deacon, Laura Fordyce, Rebecca Fennessy, Kevin Farrugia Enhancement of latent fingermarks on thermal paper poses a number of problems when using traditional methods used for porous substrates due to blackening of the thermal layer as a result of polar solvents present within the reagents and high temperatures oxidising the acid/dye complex. Thus, methods which prevent such reactions are favoured for the development of latent prints on said substrates. A comparative pseudo-operational trial using UV, Hot Print System (HPS), ninhydrin and ThermaNIN was performed on 1000 thermal paper substrates gathered from various sources. The results indicated that the most effective method was an acetone pre-wash followed by ninhydrin. The sequence of HPS-ninhydrin was similarly effective when compared to ninhydrin as a sole technique. ThermaNIN produced fewer marks than ninhydrin but was superior to HPS. Whilst the HPS developed some fingermarks, there was only a very small number of marks uniquely developed by it.
  • Identification of some factors influencing soil transfer on shoes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Denis Werner, Céline Burnier, Yingchao Yu, André R. Marolf, Yuanfeng Wang, Geneviève Massonnet In criminal activities, soil can be transferred from a crime scene to items linked with a perpetrator; for example, shoes, cars or tools. Several parameters will influence the quantity of soil transferred in a given scenario. The knowledge of the most influential factors can help the expert to assess the evidence using a logical approach at the activity level or to predict the amount of soil that can be expected in a given scenario. The influence of five chosen parameters, namely the shoe profile, shoe size, walker's weight, soil type and soil humidity were assessed using Design of Experiment (DOE) in order to understand their influence on soil quantity transferred on shoes.The Faced Central Composite Design (FCCD) using a quadratic model was found to be highly significant, thus they could be adequately used to model and to interpret the amount of soil recovered from one shoe.These designs demonstrate that the characteristics of the donor (soil type and soil humidity), as well as a combination of these two factors have a very significant impact on the soil transfer. The characteristics of the receptor (shoe profile, shoe size and walker's weight) also have an impact on the transfer but to a lesser extent.Globally, this research provides valuable information for the forensic scientist both in investigative mode: evaluation of the soil quantity possibly transferred on shoes, and in the evaluative steps: is the quantity of soil found on the suspect shoes in accordance to the proposition/scenario given by the prosecution and the defence'
  • Potential of soil organic matter molecular chemistry determined by
           pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for forensic investigations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Josiane M.L. Mazzetto, Vander Freitas Melo, Eloana Janice Bonfleur, Pablo Vidal-Torrado, Jeferson Dieckow Wetlands near urban centers may be more isolated areas and can be chosen for the disposal of bodies or used as a crime scene. The predominant soils in these areas usually have a high content of organic matter (OM), classified as Histosols. Soil organic matter (SOM) is composed of many different compounds that can be identified by pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). The study aimed to use Py-GC/MS to classify small amounts of organic soil in a forensic context. We sampled Histosols from five representative sites of Curitiba, Brazil. The molecular composition of the samples was determined by byPy-GC/MS. The factor analysis was carried out, and the factor scores showed a clear differentiation between the sites. Compounds indicative of relatively fresh plant material was separated from more recalcitrant and charred material. Py-GC/MS has the potential to be a useful tool to study the composition of SOM in Histosols to track the trace sample collected from a crime suspect.
  • A method for calculating the strength of evidence associated with an
           earwitness's claimed recognition of a familiar speaker
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Claudia Rosas, Jorge Sommerhoff, Geoffrey Stewart Morrison The present paper proposes and demonstrates a method for assessing strength of evidence when an earwitness claims to recognize the voice of a speaker who is familiar to them. The method calculates a Bayes factor that answers the question: What is the probability that the earwitness would claim to recognize the offender as the suspect if the offender was the suspect versus what is the probability that the earwitness would claim to recognize the offender as the suspect if the offender was not the suspect but some other speaker from the relevant population' By “claim” we mean a claim made by a cooperative earwitness not a claim made by an earwitness who is intentionally deceptive. Relevant data are derived from naïve listeners' responses to recordings of familiar speakers presented in a speaker lineup. The method is demonstrated under recording conditions that broadly reflect those of a real case.
  • Cross disciplinary collaboration in the current market place
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ross Donnelly
  • A comparative evaluation of the disulfur dinitride process for the
           visualisation of fingermarks on metal surfaces
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 July 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): S.M. Bleay, P.F. Kelly, R.S.P. King, S.G. Thorngate The disulfur dinitride process for fingermark visualisation was first reported a decade ago, with promising results obtained for a range of materials including metals. However, the friction sensitive nature of the material and difficulty of synthesis made routine use difficult. Many of these issues have since been addressed, making equipment and chemicals available to build an understanding of how the effectiveness of disulfur dinitride compares to other fingermark visualisation processes currently used on metal surfaces. This enables more informed advice to be given on selection of processes for treatment of metal items, an area of operational interest that encompasses weapons used in violent crime and the increasing incidence in metal theft. This paper reports a comparative study into the effectiveness of disulfur dinitride, cyanoacrylate fuming, vacuum metal deposition, gun blueing and wet powder suspensions on brass, bronze, copper and stainless steel. Experiments were conducted with the surfaces exposed to a range of environments including long term ageing, water/detergent washing, acetone washing and high temperature exposure. The results indicate that disulfur dinitride is an effective process for fingermark visualisation on metal surfaces, including those exposed to adverse environments, and may offer potential improvements over existing processes for those surfaces. Further work, including pseudo-operational trials, is recommended.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Scientific integrity in the forensic sciences: Consumerism, conflicts of
           interest, and transparency
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Nicholas V. Passalacqua, Marin A. Pilloud, William R. Belcher The goal of this paper is to discuss scientific integrity, consumerism, conflicts of interest, and transparency within the context of forensic science. Forensic scientists play crucial roles within the legal system and are constantly under various pressures when performing analytical work, generating reports based on their analyses, or testifying to the content of these reports. Maintaining the scientific integrity of these actions is paramount to supporting a functional legal system and the practice of good science. Our goal is to discuss the importance of scientific integrity as well as the factors it may compromise, so that forensic practitioners may be better equipped to recognize and avoid conflicts of interest when they arise. In this discussion we define terms, concepts, and professional relationships as well as present three case studies to contextualize these ideas.
  • Preparation and characterization of micro-bore wall-coated open-tubular
           capillaries with low phase ratios for fast-gas chromatography–mass
           spectrometry: Application to ignitable liquids and fire debris
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Zackery R. Roberson, John V. Goodpaster Fast Gas Chromatography (GC) allows for analysis times that are a fraction of those seen in traditional capillary GC. Key modifications in fast GC include using narrow, highly efficient columns that can resolve mixtures using a shorter column length. Hence, a typical fast GC column has an inner diameter of 100–180 μm. However, to maintain phase ratios that are consistent with typical GC columns, the film thickness of fast GC stationary phases are also low (e.g., 0.1–0.18 μm). Unfortunately, decreased film thickness leads to columns with very low sample capacity and asymmetric peaks for analytes that are not sufficiently dilute. This paper describes micro-bore (50 μm i.d.) capillary columns with thick films (1.25 μm), and low phase ratios (10). These columns have greater sample capacity yet also achieve minimum plate heights as low as 110 μm. Hence, separation efficiency is much higher than would be obtained using standard GC columns. The capillary columns were prepared in-house using a simple static-coating procedure and their plate counts were determined under isothermal conditions. The columns were then evaluated using temperature programming for fast GC–MS analysis of ignitable liquids and their residues on fire debris exemplars. Temperature ramps of up to 75 °C min−1 could be used and separations of ignitable liquids such as gasoline, E85 fuel, and lighter fluid (a medium petroleum distillate) were complete within 3 min. Lastly, simulated fire debris consisting of ignitable liquids burned on carpeting were extracted using passive headspace absorption-elution and the residues successfully classified.
  • Cell site analysis: Roles and interpretation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matt Tart, Sue Pope, David Baldwin, Robert Bird
  • Collection and direct amplification methods using the GlobalFiler™ kit
           for DNA recovered from common pipe bomb substrates
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Esiri Tasker, Carrie Mayes, Bobby LaRue, Sheree Hughes-Stamm When analyzing DNA from exploded pipe bombs, quantities are often in trace amounts, making DNA typing extremely difficult. Amplifying minute amounts of DNA can cause stochastic effects resulting in partial or uninterpretable profiles. Therefore, the initial DNA collection from “touch” evidence must be optimized to maximize the amount of DNA available for analysis.This proof-of-concept study evaluated two different swab types with two direct amplification strategies to identify the most effective method for recovering DNA from common pipe bomb substrates. PVC and steel pipes, electrical tape, and copper wire spiked with epithelial cells were swabbed with cotton or microFLOQ® Direct Swabs and amplified directly or via a pre-treatment prior to STR amplification.Not only was the microFLOQ® Direct Swab protocol the quickest method with the least risk of contamination, but in combination with direct amplification, the microFLOQ® Direct Swabs also generated the most complete STR profiles.
  • DNA characterization from gut content of larvae of Megaselia
    (Diptera, Phoridae)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Subham Mukherjee, Prashasti Singh, Fabiola Tuccia, Jennifer Pradelli, Giorgia Giordani, Stefano Vanin
  • Evaluation of the one-step Lumicyano™ used in the visualisation of
           fingermarks on fabrics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Nicole Beerman, Anne Savage, Lynn Dennany, Joanna Fraser This study consisted of three parts to evaluate the performance of Lumicyano™ on a variety of fabrics. One part assessed the impact of dye percentage (8%, 9% and 10%) on visualisation of fingermark detail and luminescent brightness in split grab marks. A 9% dye produced the highest quality detail of grab impressions with least interference from background fluorescence. The second part investigated the optimal relative humidity (RH, 75–84%) for certain fabric types using Lumicyano on split, six-series depletion fingermarks. It was concluded that the recommended RH of 80% remained the ideal cyanoacrylate fuming environment. The final and third part of this study determined the impact of sequential addition of Basic Yellow 40 (BY40) on Lumicyano compared to traditional cyanoacrylate (CA) followed with BY40 application. Results from this study demonstrated that Lumicyano on its own developed fingermarks with superior quality to Lumicyano with sequential addition of BY40 or traditional cyanoacrylate followed by BY40. Inclusion of more fabrics, donors and longer ageing periods should be explored in future studies to determine what frameworks are best for certain types of fabrics.
  • Can analysis of a small clod of soil help to solve a murder case'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vander Freitas Melo, Samara Alves Testoni, Lorna Dawson, Alexandre Guilherme de Lara, Fábio Augusto da Silva Salvador Soil forensics utilizes extensive soil information to answer legal questions and test hypotheses. The main difficulty often is the determination of different variables from a small amount of soil sample collected on the suspect. We developed a sequential mineralogical and chemical analyses to assess a limited quantity of soil vestiges (0.5 g) from a suspect's vehicle (adhered to the outside rear-view mirror and to the left front fender) involved in a murder case and compared them with the surface samples found at the victim's body disposal site at the Graciosa Road, Paraná State, Brazil. All results affirm that the suspect’s vehicle could have been in contact with the edge of the Graciosa Road, approximately the place where the victim’s body was located. As a result of the soil analysis and comparison, the results support the likely contact of the suspect’s vehicle with the crime scene.
  • The social life of forensic evidence and the epistemic sub-cultures in an
           inquisitorial justice system: Analysis of Saltão case
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Susana Costa
  • When finding nothing may be evidence of something: Anti-forensic and
           digital tool marks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Graeme Horsman, David Errickson There are an abundance of measures available to the standard digital device users which provide the opportunity to act in an anti-forensic manner and conceal any potential digital evidence denoting a criminal act. Whilst there is a lack of empirical evidence which evaluates the scale of this threat to digital forensic investigations leaving the true extent of engagement with such tools unknown, arguably the field should take proactive steps to examine and record the capabilities of these measures. Whilst forensic science has long accepted the concept of toolmark analysis as part of criminal investigations, ‘digital tool marks’ (DTMs) are a notion rarely acknowledged and considered in digital investigations. DTMs are the traces left behind by a tool or process on a suspect system which can help to determine what malicious behaviour has occurred on a device. This article discusses and champions the need for DTM research in digital forensics highlighting the benefits of doing so.
  • Development of discriminant functions to estimate sex in upper limb bones
           for mixed ancestry South Africans
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 June 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Palesa Mokoena, Brendon K. Billings, Victoria Gibbon, Mubarak A. Bidmos, Pedzisai Mazengenya South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, which is associated with an increasing number of unidentified individuals. Forensic anthropologists can assist in these cases to reduce the number of potential victims the remains may belong to. Sex estimation potentially decreases the number of possible victims by half. The mixed ancestry population in South Africa is the second largest group of people; however, there remains a paucity of data and population-specific methods for sex estimation in this group. The aim of this study was to assess the potential for metrices obtained around the nutrient foramen and the maximum length of upper limb long bones to estimate sex in mixed ancestry South Africans using discriminant function analysis. A total of 328 humeri, radii and ulnae from individuals of mixed ancestry were analysed. Sex was correctly classified with an average classification accuracy of 84.3% in the humeri, 88.3% for radii and 83.5% for the ulnae. Total length was the single best predictor of sex; the combination of total length with dimensions related to the nutrient foramen produced high classification accuracies in the current study. Overall, sexual dimorphism was observed in mixed ancestry South Africans upper limb long bones. The findings of this study further emphasise the need for population-specific standards of sexing in an attempt to improve current methods of forensic identification of descendants.
  • Assessment of the Yfiler® Plus PCR amplification kit for the detection of
           male DNA in semen-negative sexual assault cases
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Julianne Henry, Lenara Scandrett The ability to detect male epithelial cells deposited during digital penetration or penile penetration without ejaculation is limited by the sensitivity of the Y-STR profiling kit. In this study, the relative profiling success of the Thermofisher Yfiler® Plus kit was compared to its predecessor, AmpFlSTR Yfiler®, for 104 semen-negative sexual assault samples from casework at Forensic Science SA, Adelaide, South Australia. Yfiler Plus generated allele information in 25% more samples than Yfiler and gave a higher recovery of informative alleles in all but two samples where detectable male DNA was present. Where a profile was obtained in both kits, 92% of samples gave a higher percentage of informative loci with Yfiler Plus compared to Yfiler. Yfiler Plus also resolved DNA mixtures in 15 samples as compared to 1 sample with Yfiler. Detection of male DNA with the Quantifiler™ Trio DNA Quantification kit was shown to correlate with a successful profiling outcome with Yfiler Plus. The success of profiling with Yfiler Plus was independent of the time elapsed between the alleged offence and the sample being collected, the type of sexual penetration which occurred, and the anatomical origin of the sample.
  • A risk-based approach to cognitive bias in forensic science
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Andrew Camilleri, Damien Abarno, Carolyne Bird, Anne Coxon, Natasha Mitchell, Kahlee Redman, Nicol Sly, Stephen Wills, Edmund Silenieks, Ellie Simpson, Heather Lindsay Over the past decade, the potential impact of cognitive bias in forensic science has instigated much discussion and debate between academics, scientists and those in the justice sector. Evidence of bias influencing subjective decision-making across a range of forensic disciplines has been described in the literature. Forensic service organisations are being urged to address cognitive bias in subjective decision-making by designing processes or procedures to limit access to (irrelevant) contextual information or reduce dependence on cognitive functions. Although some laboratories have implemented bias mitigating strategies, with varying impact on operational efficiency, there has been no systematic assessment of the risk posed by cognitive bias. Forensic Science SA assessed the potential impact of bias on forensic interpretations across multiple disciplines, using a risk management framework. This process proved useful in assessing the effectiveness of existing bias mitigating strategies and identified the latent level of risk posed. While all forensic organisations should seek to implement bias limiting measures that are simple, cost-effective and do not adversely impact efficiency, using a risk-based approach has contextualised the limited benefit of introducing resource hungry measures, as postulated in the literature. That is not to suggest that forensic organisations should dismiss the potential influence of cognitive bias but they need to strike an appropriate balance between risk and return, as they do with any business risk.
  • Management of crime scene units by Quebec police senior managers: Insight
           on forensic knowledge and understanding of key stakeholders
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vincent Mousseau, Simon Baechler, Frank Crispino What do policing leaders think and know of forensic science' Beyond crime scene investigators or detectives, how do police senior managers perceive the role, utility and limitations of forensic science' Very few empirical studies have addressed the issue. Forensic scientsts should be concerned about the perception that law enforcement senior managers have of their discipline for two reasons. First, strategic and financial decision-makers are obviously key players in the overall administration and provision of forensic science, either as a supervisor, money provider or as a customer. Second, literature has highlighted that other actors involved in forensic science underestimate the scope and possibilities offered by forensic science, hence limiting its exploitation and potential. Following interviews with 18 police senior managers from Quebec (Canada), this study shows that they generally restrict forensic science to a reactive discipline whose role and utility is to identify offenders and support the Court. This understanding of forensic science, like that of many others including a significant share of forensic scientists, differs from the perception of other police activities in modern law enforcement agencies where proactive action is sought. Considering these findings and the growing body of literature which calls for forensic science to connect more tightly with policing and security, we advocate a more extensive education of police leaders regarding the scope of forensic science.
  • Investigating the effect photodegradation has on natural fibres at a
           microscopic level
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roslyn DeBattista, Helen Tidy, Matthew Clark It is a known fact that when fabric is left exposed to sunlight photodegradation occurs. However, no study has ever looked at the photodegradation that occurs to individual fibre filaments as commonly recovered from a scene of crime. To look at photodegradation of individual fibres, wool and cotton fabric were dyed using CI Acid Red 27 and CI Direct Red 80 respectively at two depths of shade, 0.25% and 2.0% owf. Pieces of fabric and individual fibre samples were then placed in a Light Fastness Q-Sun 1000 Xenon test chamber which simulated exposure to sunlight over two time periods, 64 (equivalent to one weeks sun exposure) and 128 h (equivalent to two weeks sun exposure). The resulting pieces of fabric and fibres where then examined using high power comparison microscopy, as well as graded for colour fading using SDC Grey Scale for Assessing Change in Colour (including half steps). Results show that in both fibre types, photodegradation occurs in all samples, however, the degree of fading is shown to vary within a given fibre population showing it is unpredictable in nature.
  • The repeatability and reproducibility of the Sheffield Features of Gait
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ivan Birch, Maria Birch, Lucy Rutler, Sarah Brown, Libertad Rodriguez Burgos, Bert Otten, Mickey Wiedemeijer Gait, the pattern or style in which locomotion is undertaken, has kinematic characteristics that may occur in varying proportions of a population and therefore have discriminatory potential. Forensic gait analysis is the analysis, comparison and evaluation of features of gait to assist the investigation of crime. While there have been recent developments in automated gait recognition systems, gait analysis presented in criminal court to assist in identification currently relies on observational analysis by expert witnesses. Observational gait analysis has been the focus of considerable research, and it has been shown that the adoption of a systematic approach to both the observation and recording of features of gait improves the reliability of the analysis. The Sheffield Features of Gait Tool was developed by forensic gait analysis practitioners based on their casework and trial experience, and consists of more than a hundred features of gait and variances. This paper reports the findings of a study undertaken to assess the repeatability and reproducibility of the Sheffield Features of Gait Tool.Fourteen participants, with experience in observational gait analysis, viewed footage of computer generated avatars walking, and completed the features of gait tool on multiple occasions. The repeatability scores varied between participants from a highest score of 42.59 out of a maximum possible score of 45 (94.65%), to a lowest score of 30.76 (68.35%), with a mean score of 35.79 (79.54%) and a standard deviation of 3.59 (7.98%). The reproducibility scores for the assessment of each avatar varied from a highest score of 137.73 out of the best possible score of 180 (76.52%), to a lowest score of 127.21 (70.67%), with a mean score of 132.21 (73.45) and a standard deviation of 3.82 (2.12%). The results demonstrated that the use of the Sheffield Features of Gait Tool by experienced analysists resulted in what could be considered to be good levels of both repeatability and reproducibility. Some variation was shown to occur both between the results produced by different analysts, and between those produced from the analysis of different avatars. An understanding of the probative value of gait analysis evidence is an important facet of its submission as evidence, and the design and testing of standardized methods of analysis and comparison are an essential element of developing that understanding. This study is the first to test a purpose designed features of gait tool for use in forensic gait analysis.
  • Two-dimensional linear analysis of dynamic bare footprints: A comparison
           of measurement techniques
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 April 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael S. Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Kewal Krishan, Tanuj Kanchan In forensic intelligence-gathering, footprints have been shown to be valued evidence found at crime scenes. Forensic podiatrists and footprint examiners use a variety of techniques for measuring footprints for comparison of the crime scene evidence with the exemplar footprints. This study examines three different techniques of obtaining two-dimensional linear measurement data of dynamic bare footprints. Dynamic bare footprints were gathered from 50 students from a podiatric medical school using the Identicator® Inkless Shoe Print Model LE 25P system. After obtaining 100 bilateral footprints from the participants, the quantitative measurement data were collected by using three different measurement techniques: (i) a manual technique using a ruler (direct technique); (ii) an Adobe® Photoshop® technique; and (iii) a GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) technique. The seven Reel linear measurement methodology was used for producing measurements using these three techniques.This study showed that all the mean bare footprint measurements on the right and left feet obtained using the direct technique were larger than those obtained using GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® images. Differences were also observed in measurements produced using GIMP software and Photoshop images. However, the differences observed in the three techniques used for bare footprint measurements were not found to be statistically significant. The study concludes that there are no significant differences between the three measurement techniques when applied to two-dimensional bare footprints using the Reel method. It further concluded that any of these measurement techniques can be used when employing the Reel methodology for footprint analysis without significant difference.
  • Identification of decomposition volatile organic compounds from
           surface-deposited and submerged porcine remains
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 March 2019Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): L. Irish, S. Rennie, G. Parkes, A. Williams Cadaver dogs are routinely used internationally by police and civilian search organisations to locate human remains on land and in water, yet little is currently known about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released by a cadaver underwater; how this compares to those given off by a cadaver deposited on land; and ultimately, how this affects the detection of drowned victims by dogs. The aim of this study was to identify the VOCs released by whole porcine (Sus scrofa domesticus) cadavers deposited on the surface and submerged in water using solid phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME GC–MS) to ascertain if there are notable differences in decomposition odour depending on the deposition location.For the first time in the UK, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the headspace of decomposing porcine cadavers deposited in both terrestrial and water environments have been detected and identified using SPME-GCMS, including thirteen new VOCs not previously detected from porcine cadavers. Distinct differences were found between the VOCs emitted by porcine cadavers in terrestrial and water environments. In total, seventy-four VOCs were identified from a variety of different chemical classes; carboxylic acids, alcohols, aromatics, aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons, esters, ethers, nitrogen compounds and sulphur compounds. Only forty-one VOCs were detected in the headspace of the submerged pigs with seventy detected in the headspace of the surface-deposited pigs. These deposition-dependent differences have important implications for the training of cadaver dogs in the UK. If dog training does not account for these depositional differences, there is potential for human remains to be missed.Whilst the specific odours that elicit a trained response from cadaver dogs remain unknown, this research means that recommendations can be made for the training of cadaver dogs to incorporate different depositions, to account for odour differences and mitigate the possibility of missed human remains operationally.
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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