Every contact by a criminal leaves behind a trace.
– Edmond Locard
WHAT IS FORENSIC SCIENCE?
It is an amalgamation of all the sciences like physics, chemistry, and biology that aids the judicial system in arriving at a conclusion. It is used in identifying criminals. It is an art of “vision”. As the principal of Locard says that if there is contact then it will leave some physical evidence. The perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it, which can be used as forensic evidence. With the help of forensic science, we can come to a conclusion with fair and judicial means.
UNDERSTANDING INDIAN CONTEXT
Section 3 of the Indian evidence act says that evidence means and includes oral and documentary evidence. Which means statements made by the witness and documented evidence.
Documentary or written evidence refers to all documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the Court.
Oral evidence refers to all statements that the Court permits or requires to be made before it by witnesses, in relation to matters of fact under inquiry, such statements.
Sections 45 and 46 of the Indian evidence act brief about the admissibility of the forensic report in the courtroom.
HOW TO ARRIVE AT A CONCLUSION USING FORENSIC?
RECOGNISE IMPORTANT PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
It is said that physical evidence cannot be intimidated. It does not forget. It sits there and waits to be detected, preserved, evaluated, and explained. It is the first and foremost step to recognise important physical evidence. Evidence is defined as anything found on a crime scene that will bring us closer to the conclusion and reality as defined by Locard that every contact by a criminal leaves behind a trace.
A piece of information furnished in a legal investigation to support a contention is evidence. The information can be obtained from documents or any other sources or witnesses. A witness is one who has seen a crime being committed. A hearsay witness is one who has not seen but has heard the case, so it is not reliable as he/she can become biased. So now comes the question that if the above-mentioned witness are not much reliable so what is reliable then? And here is the answer: FORENSIC WITNESS
DIFFERENT TYPES OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE
Fingerprint: It is one of those forensic pieces of evidence that is very unique, if we see identical or monozygotic twins, they have similar DNA but not fingerprints. Fingerprints are very unique identity. These are permanent in nature. One person has one identical fingerprint which belongs to him and no other will have the same fingerprints.
Ballistic: It is the study of the firearm, cartridge, cartridge case, projectile, and path of the projectile. It is basically the science of the projectile motion of bullets and firearms. It helps in reconstructing the crime scene.
Digital Trail: It is the branch of forensic science that is used in the investigation of cybercrime and any crime done digitally by any device that can store digital data. As the world of crime is being done digitally with the advent of technology, there is a need to develop this field drastically.
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid is a powerful investigative tool. With the exception of identical twins, DNA is used to solve cases easily with proper reliability. DNA cases are being solved frequently in time.
So now, can we say that everything which is recovered from the crime scene is evidence? The simple answer is NO. there are two types of evidence: admissible and inadmissible evidence. Not every piece of evidence is admissible. Any evidence recovered from the site by which something can be deciphered which can take us closer to the case and which is relevant to the case is admissible.
TYPES OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCES
Transient evidence: This is temporary evidence. They can vanish with time. Examples are imprints, temperature, and odor like petroleum smell.
Pattern evidence: These are produced by direct contact between a person and an object or between two objects. Examples are: tool marks, blood spatters, glass fractures, and fire burnt patterns.
Conditional evidence: This is evidence produced by a specific event or action.
Transfer evidence: This is pieces of evidence produced by contact.
Associative evidence: This evidence may associate a victim or a suspect with a scene or with each other.
Differentiation of evidence by nature:
Biological evidence: Blood, semen, saliva, fungi, botanical material, urine, tissues, etc…
Chemical evidence: Drug, poison, medicine, paper, ink, etc…
Physical evidence: Fingerprint, footprint, shoeprint, glass, soil, typewriter, tool marks, etc…
Miscellaneous evidence: Voice analysis, polygraph, photograph, psycholinguistic analysis, etc…
RECONSTRUCT THE EVENT
To reconstruct the event, the forensic crime scene reconstruction method is used with proper scientific methods. After a thorough study of physical evidence found and applying forensic evidence, crime scenes like blood spatter interpretation, shooting reconstruction, accidents and sexual assault case scenes can be reconstructed. It helps in aiding the judiciary as to tell the judges who are not present at the site, what has happened. Various 3-d methods and laser light are used to recreate the crime scene as to what would have happened.
There are some steps followed to recreate a crime scene, they are:
- Recognition of evidence
- Documentation of evidence
- Collection of evidence
- Evaluation of evidence
The world of forensic sciences and laws is much bigger and needs to get much explored. A few questions arise about infringement of privacy such that for extraction of evidence consent is required at every step, but the proper investigation should be made if the person refuses to give permission because if one is truthful then he/she should not have any problem in giving consent. Transparency will get increased as well as conviction rates. We will reach the conclusion very fast. It’s high time to change our modus-operandi regarding crime management.
Author’s Name: Shweta Jugran (National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar)