Type Of Forensic Evidence

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UNIVERSITY OF MALTA Advanced Forensic Medicine PAT 5751 Ramon Bonett Sladden 402291M Assignment title set by Mr John C. Ellul. Forensic science plays a very important role in establishing the truth. Choose one type of physical evidence such as fingerprints, shoe marks, blood, et cetera. Your assignment has to be in four parts: 1. Define the chosen type of evidence. (600 words) 2. Research the historical development of this type of evidence. (750 words) 3. Explain its evidential value - specific characteristics - why it is unique - what makes it distinct, how it is examined and how the result is interpreted. (900 words) 4. Explore jurisprudence related to this type of evidence and highlight the legal issues surrounding the case in…show more content…
According to research carried out by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) , which is part of the United States Department of Commerce, this discipline traces its roots to the days of the Roman empire, in particular the third century A.D., where jurists drew up procedures to be used in distinguishing between genuine writings and forgeries and how a writing could be determined as being a forgery and therefore, not genuine. Three centuries later, the Emperor Justinian further refined the procedures to be used in comparing writings before the courts. The emperor gave the faculty to judges to appoint persons with particular skill and knowledge to examine documents in doubt and after conducting an examination, testify as to the authenticity or otherwise of the document in question. This is one of the earliest admissions of judicial authorities that the judge is by no means omniscient and in fields other than the domestic law, must rely on persons more knowledgeable and skilled than…show more content…
Rowell is a case which played out in 1835 in Essex County, Massachusetts (United States). This case involved a promissory note (which is a document by which a person records in writing that they owe money to another person) and as a case, revolved around establishing the qualifications for a document examiner. For example, would a person be qualified to tell the difference between the handwriting of a close relative which handwriting he was used to seeing and writing made by someone else attempting to imitate it closely? In this case, the gist of the court’s decision was that the opinion of a person who was a teacher of penmanship (and in those times, the closest one could get to a document examiner) could not reasonably expect to be able to tell the difference between a genuine writing of a person and an attempt to imitate his writing by another person, especially when the witness had never even seen person alleged to have been the genuine author write. Therefore according to that court, one had to see the person write in order to try to assess whether another writing was theirs or possibly similar thereto. This test is used by document examiners in Malta, when sometimes a person is asked to submit samples of their handwriting to the document examiner, in Malta called the “espert grafiku” or “espert forensiku
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