Forensic Equity’s chemists are highly qualified and highly skilled in the field of forensic chemistry. With over 60 years’ combined experience in the team, our forensic chemists are uniquely positioned to provide a thorough and credible assessment of the prosecution’s forensic evidence.
The role of forensic chemistry
A forensic chemist can use many different methods to reveal what chemical changes occurred during an incident, and in establishing such, can reconstruct the sequence of events. Forensic chemistry is a field which is also dedicated to the analysis of various substances that might be important or might have been used in the commission of a crime.
The application of forensic chemistry is vast, with the techniques used in cases of fire and explosions, burglary, breaking and entering and suspected altered and erased documents.
Many fires occur every year at domestic dwellings and commercial premises. The majority of those will have started by accident. However, some may have been started deliberately. Undertaking a fire investigation and discovering the cause of any particular fire is a skilled and painstaking process.
A similar level of expertise is required when investigating explosives and explosive devices, which can take many forms from the sophisticated (e.g. commercially manufactured explosives and explosive devices) to the simple (e.g. home-made explosive mixtures incorporated in homemade devices). Sometimes certain chemicals may come together by chance and trigger and accidental explosion. Only an experienced forensic chemist can evaluate whether a particular chemical mixture could have the potential to cause an explosion.
How can we help in the preparation of a fire investigation report?
Our fire investigator can:
Visit the scene of the fire (if it has been preserved) examine the evidence in situ and give expert opinion as to how the fire may have started.
If the fire scene has not been preserved then our fire investigator can examine the case notes and analytical findings of the original fire scene investigation. Re-evaluate the evidential significance of the original fire investigation report and provide their own findings and conclusions as to the nature of the fire.
In the case of explosives our experts can examine the case notes and analytical findings of the original investigators, that may have attended the scene, re-evaluate the evidential significance of those findings and give expert opinion as to the nature (explosive or otherwise) of any relevant chemicals recovered from the scene.
Handwriting Analysis and Forged Documents
Documents of various types may be altered, partially erased or forged for innocent or criminal reasons. Notes written on a sheet from a note pad, which is then torn off, may leave an indented, but invisible copy on the sheets below. Invisible indented writing on a notepad may be visualised and from which handwriting analysis can be undertaken to discover the identity of the author. In the case of suspected forged documents it is often also possible to discover if the document has been altered or erased and how.
Handwriting analysis and forged documents - How can we help?
Our forensic document examiner can:
Examine the case notes and analytical findings of the forensic scientist who originally examined the documents in question and evaluate the evidential significance of those findings.
If necessary re-examine the documents in question and report on the evidential significance of those findings.
Shoe Prints and Footwear Marks Comparison
Footwear marks are commonly encountered at crime scenes and if discovered and suitably preserved they may be compared to the shoes recovered from the suspected perpetrator/s of a particular crime. The evidential significance of such comparisons will depend on a number of factors including the type of shoes or boots involved and how often they had been worn previously and by whom. With footwear matching a very complex science the evidential significance of the results of such comparisons by the prosecution should be re-evaluated by an independent forensic scientist.
How can we our forensic scientists assist the defence?
Our footwear expert can:
Examine the case notes and analytical findings of the forensic scientist who originally examined the recovered shoes and shoe marks in question and compared them and evaluate the evidential significance of those findings,
If necessary re-examine the recovered shoes and the preserved shoe marks from the scene (in the laboratory or in situ) and report on the evidential significance of those findings.
Tools and Manufacturing Marks
Tool and Manufacturing Marks
Certain types of criminal activity, such as breaking and entering, may involve the use of tools to force an entry. Those tools, such as bolt croppers, will leave more or less characteristic marks at the crime scene, depending on how often they had been used previously, on the surface of the material which they have been used to cut or damage. If the tool is recovered from a suspected perpetrator, it may be compared with tool marks found on items at the scene of the crime. The evidential significance of the results of such comparisons needs to be evaluated by an expert.
How can we assist the defence counsel?
Our forensic scientists can:
Examine the case notes and analytical findings of the forensic scientist who originally examined the recovered tool/s and tool marks in question and re-evaluate the evidential significance of those findings.
If necessary re-examine the recovered tool/s and the damaged items from the scene (in the laboratory or in situ) and report on the evidential significance of those findings.
A number of different materials from a crime scene may be left on the clothing of a suspected perpetrator of that crime. For example a burglary involving smashing a window or forcing a door or window may leave trace evidence of window glass or flakes of paint on the perpetrators clothing. However, innocent transfer of trace evidence such as paint, glass and other materials onto clothing may also occur.
How can we help in the preparation of a forensic report for the defence?
Our trace evidence experts can:
Examine the case notes and analytical findings of the forensic scientist who originally recovered and examined any suspected trace evidence and compared them to materials found at the scene.
Evaluate the evidential significance of those trace evidence findings.
If necessary re-examine the recovered material and control samples taken from the scene and report on the evidential significance of those findings