Evaluation of forensic evidence of bloodstain paterns in Slovene courts : bachelor thesisAndreja Cavnik
, 2012, diplomsko delo/naloga
Opis: Modern science and technology are becoming an important part of our daily lives, and so is the world of criminal investigation. When investigating any crime, the evidence collected from the crime scene plays a crucial role in the attempt to put all the pieces together and solve the mystery. Our thesis will focus on the complexity in investigating crime scenes involving bloodshed and on the significance of bloodstain patterns resulting from violent actions.
It is of great importance that crime scene technicians, when collecting and insuring physical or biological evidence, take extra precautions to ensure proper handling, storage, identification, and last but not least, the chain of custody. All these measures play a decisive role in later stages of the process when forensic practitioners perform different laboratory tests on the evidence collected, providing for clues leading to gathering more detailed information that would point to the persons present at the crime scene at the time of crime, and, finally, to obtaining such added-value evidence that would be admissible in the court of law. An answer to ''what actually happened'' usually lies in crime scene reconstruction that focuses on leads, visible and latent bloodstain patterns, and all other pointers that indicate what went on at the time of a struggle. It is unbelievable how much a blood trail can tell us about past events: from a few blood droplets or bloodstain patterns, it is possible to determine the exact movements of the victim, the spot and the direction a blood droplet has originated from, the area of origin, and the position of the victim. It is even possible to determine the number of blows received by a blunt object, etc.
A combination of the information and the measures listed above may reveal a clear picture of past events, but the case does not end here. On the contrary, this is where it begins, for the most important part of the process is to present all the collected evidence in a criminal trial. Therefore, the evidence needs to be admissible, credible and irrefutable, which is not always easy to achieve. In Slovenian courts, judges are not under any obligation to pursue any formal standards of evaluation of forensic evidence; however, they are obligated to respect certain rules governing submission of the evidence. Actually, the entire procedure of submission and evaluation of the evidence is at the complete discretion of the court, which rules over which evidence submitted by prosecutor and the defense is or is not to be admitted.
Further, we discuss standards of evidence and the importance of the forensic expert testimony, preparation of the evidence, and the dilemmas related to different interpretations thereof in criminal procedures, either by the prosecutor or the defense. Dr. Katja Drobnič, a forensic expert for DNA and biological traces, shares her opinion about this topic with us, discussing the difficulties encountered at all stages of the process of preparing an expert opinion, as well as the challenges faced with when testifying.
What follows is a closer look at evaluation of forensic evidence of bloodstain patterns from a practical point of view. We discuss this topic with Andrej Baraga, judge for criminal offences at Ljubljana District Court, who shares his practical experiences with different interpretations and the dilemmas in evaluating such evidence.
Last but not least, we talk to Dr. Darko Maver, professor of Criminalistics and PhD in law, who shares his findings and directions about Slovenian court proceedings and dilemmas in evaluation of forensic evidence of bloodstain patterns.
Throughout the whole thesis we pursue the answers to the questions of whether or not are there any unwritten standards or guidelines for evaluation of such evidence, since there are no formal ones in our Criminal law, and if yes, whether or not, are they being taken into a consideration in practice. We also explore the former dilemma of forensic experts of the National Forensic Laboratory taking stand as expert witnesses in criminal tri
Ključne besede: kriminalistično preiskovanje, forenzika, krvne sledi, dokazi, vrednotenje, sodni izvedenci, sodišča, diplomske naloge
Objavljeno v DKUM: 19.04.2012; Ogledov: 2237; Prenosov: 202
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