Forensic Equity is one of the UK's largest providers of independent forensic science services.

Our mission is to ensure that fair and impartial forensic science is accessible to all.

 With some of the most experienced scientists in Europe, our clients can be safe in the knowledge that they are benefiting from an unrivaled source of  expertise and the most robust scientific reporting

Recommendations

“I wanted to thank you and your team for the amazing efforts, work and speed with which you attended to the various queries that arose during the trial. After only 4 hours, the jury unanimously acquitted ‘M’ and convicted the co-defendant.

I personally am very grateful, especially as it made my task of dealing with certain issues easier and more professional.”

Barrister, Furnival Chambers

 

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Firearms & Ballistics

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The area of firearms and ballistics examination requires very specialised skills and training and therefore there are very few forensic scientists with the depth of expertise and knowledge to take on defence work in this area. Forensic Equity boasts one of the UKs leading forensic firearms experts with experience of the widest possible range of weapons and ammunition involved in both civilian and military scenarios.

 

Apart from the obvious task of examining a weapon to see if was connected to a particular crime or not. Why should you consult a firearms expert?

 

One example of where seeking a second expert opinion could be crucial would be where the prosecution seek to prove that one person was murdered by another, but the alternative defence scenario is that the deceased person took their own life.

 

A firearms and ballistics expert can not only examine the weapon to see if it were possible for someone to physically shoot themselves or not, but they can also examine entry wounds and clothing damage to see whether they fit the suicide or the murder scenario.

UK firearms law

It is not only people accused of the more serious crimes that need the benefit of a firearms expert. The UK firearms law and regulations governing firearms, particularly weapons like air rifles are very complex and you need a forensic scientist to explain them and to determine whether or not a particular weapon fits into the category of a dangerous air weapon or not. 

 

Under the UK firearms law, possession of a dangerous air weapon can lead to a custodial sentence of up to 10 years and thus it is imperative that the prosecutions forensic evidence is independently reviewed by one of Forensic Equity’s scientists.

 

With over 200 years of expertise between them our forensic scientists have been responsible for helping to acquit clients accused of some of the most serious offences including murder, rape, drug dealing, burglary and firearms offences, by reviewing and re-examining the prosecution's forensic evidence in hundreds of criminal cases.

Comparison Macroscopy 

Comparison Macroscopy is used to compare test-fired material (bullets and cartridge cases) against that recovered from the scene or injured party.  Exhaustive tests can confirm or exclude an item from having been discharged in a particular firearm. It is used extensively in the field of firearms identification. Modern Comparison Macroscopes are highly engineered instruments, capable of high-resolution digital capture. 

Forensic ballistics case example 

Following a shooting a person found in possession of a rifle some ten years later was charged with murder. After forensic examination it was concluded that the fatal bullet was most likely discharged from that rifle. 

 

How can our ballistics experts help?

Our forensic ballistics experts are highly trained and experienced in Comparison Macroscopy, with years of experience they are able to utilise the latest 3D technology to aid findings and conclusions. In this case after our forensic expert examined and test fired the rifle, his comparison indicated that it was not the weapon used in the murder. 

 

Our ballistics expert can:

  • Assess the condition of weapon(s).

  • Test fire and recover bullets and cartridge cases for comparison.

  • Conduct comparison macroscopy of test fired material with evidence material.

  • Review the original comparison macroscopy findings and report(s).

  • Review the original forensic examination, findings and report(s).

  • Re-interpret the findings in the light of your client’s version of events. 

  • Re-examine any firearms, ammunition or scene related items that have been retained by the police.

  • Examine additional evidence.

  • Comment on factors that may not have been considered in original forensic report.

  • Prepare reports or statements for use in court, both criminal and civil.

  • Attend court to give evidence or to support the defence team by assisting with cross-examination.

 

Trial outcome

The charge against the defendant was withdrawn. 

Crime Scene Reconstruction

Crime scene reconstruction and a secondary forensic analysis can be used to confirm or highlight discrepancies of witness accounts or forensic findings. Should any discrepancy(s) be found that support your clients versions of events a crime scene reconstruction could be of vital importance.

Gun crime case example

Person was charged with attempted murder. After forensic scene examination, test firing and reporting the charge was upheld and committed to trial.

 

How can our firearms expert assist the defence?

Our firearms experts have years of experience of examining, reviewing and in the reconstruction of crime scenes. In this case our firearms expert examined the scene and the prosecutions findings and based on their analysis of the scene conducted a further range of fire tests with the weapon. Post which he concluded that it was not possible for this weapon to have caused the damage at the scene at the alleged angle and at the alleged range.

 

Our firearms expert can:

  • Undertake a crime scene reconstruction and conduct a secondary analysis of the incident and crime scene.

  • Consider the capability of particular weapons and ammunition.

  • Interpret bullet damage, wounds and gunshot blood pattern analysis (BPA) caused by the discharge of firearms.

  • Determine the range and trajectory of shots fired.

  • Assess the condition of weapons.

  • Conduct velocity testing to determine muzzle energy.

  • Test fire and recover bullets and cartridge cases for comparison.

  • Review the original forensic examination, findings and report(s).

  • Re-interpret the findings in the light of your client’s version of events. 

  • Re-examine any firearms, ammunition or scene related items that have been retained by the police.

  • Examine additional evidence.

  • Comment on factors that may not have been considered in original forensic report.

  • Prepare reports or statements for use in court, both criminal and civil.

  • Attend court to give evidence or to support the defence team by assisting with cross-examination.

 

Trial outcome

Evidence was presented in court and the defendant was acquitted.

 
 

Gunshot Residue 

Microscopic gunshot residue particles are expelled on the discharge of a firearm and this gunshot residue (GSR) may be deposited on the shooter, on anything close to the weapon, on anyone at the crime scene or perhaps on someone who was not at the crime scene. 

Gunshot residue case example 

Following a drive by shooting involving two vehicles, persons from one of the vehicles were charged with possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.  The prosecution's forensic examination concluded that given the gunshot residue found, a firearm could have been discharged from the defendant’s vehicle and the case was committed to trial.

 

How can our firearms expert assist the defence?

Our firearms experts have worked on numerous gunshot residue cases and are able to report on the significance of findings and whether other activities or contamination may explain the results.  In this case our firearms expert determined that gunshot residue found inside the vehicle may have been transferred from gunshot damage sustained to the outside of the vehicle during the incident.

 

Our firearms expert can:

  • Review the prosecutions analysis and interpretation of the gunshot residue.

  • Determine if a person could have fired a particular firearm, or ammunition type.

  • Expertly comment on whether gunshot residue may have been found due to close proximity to the discharge or by means of contamination.

  • Assess the condition of the weapons suspected of being involved.

  • Review the original forensic examination, findings and report(s).

  • Re-interpret the findings in the light of your client’s version of events. 

  • Re-examine any gunshot residue or scene related items that have been retained by the police 

  • Examine additional evidence

  • Comment on factors that may not have been considered in original forensic report.

  • Prepare reports or statements for use in court, both criminal and civil.

  • Attend court to give evidence or to support the defence team by assisting with cross-examination.

 

Trial outcome

Evidence was presented in court and the defendants were acquitted.

 

Weapon Testing

The Firearms Act is far reaching and it therefore follows that the forensic examination of firearms and weapons testing is a key part of forensic casework.

 

A range of different types of weapons and associated items are often encountered in criminal investigations and the examination of such alleged weapons, and the assessment of their illegality or otherwise under the UK firearms law requires the specialist services of a firearms expert witness.

Firearms Act

Various types of weapons and associated items are encountered in forensic casework such as ballistics. These include different types of firearms such as pistols, shotguns, stun guns, imitation firearms, converted blank firers, toys and associated ammunition. Criminal charges for possession of these depend upon their classification under current UK firearms law.

 

Criminal charges for possessing any one of these items will depend how they have been classified according to current UK firearms law. Instructing a highly experienced and competent firearms expert is essential for the interpretation of that Firearms Act as well as the examination of the firearms in question.

 

UK firearms law - case example 

Person found in possession of a partially converted blank firer is arrested for possession of a firearm. After forensic examination and reporting by the prosecution, the defendant is charged with Possession of component parts from a Section 5 firearm.

 

How can our ballistics expert assist the defence?

Our forensic firearms expert has years of experience of examining, testing and classifying weapons according to UK Legislation, having worked for Forensic Science Northern Ireland. 

 

In this case our firearms expert examined and tested the weapon and found that it was not in working order and that it had not been completely converted into a firearm.

 

Our firearms expert can:

  • Examine weapons and ammunition for classification purposes.

  • Assess of the condition of weapons or firearms.

  • Conduct velocity testing to determine muzzle energy.

  • Conduct weapons testing to include: test firing and the recovery of bullets and cartridge cases for forensic comparison.

  • Review the original forensic examination, findings and report(s).

  • Re-interpret the findings in the light of your client’s version of events. 

  • Re-examine any firearms, ammunition or scene related items that have been retained by the police.

  • Examine additional forensic evidence.

  • Comment on factors that may not have been considered in original forensic report.

  • Prepare reports or statements for use in both criminal and civil courts.

  • Attend court as a firearms expert witness to give evidence or to support the defence team by assisting with cross-examination.

 

Trial outcome

The charges against the defendant were dropped.