Jul 5, 2019 by Foresight

Why Would a Solicitor Instruct a Forensic Scientist Expert Witness?

Forensic science is a multidisciplinary profession and those who practice forensic science have various backgrounds and specialities. Forensic science is the application of scientific thought and methods to criminal cases; this may be in the form of crime scene investigation, a toxicology report, medical reports and many more. In many criminal cases there is an evidence base which can only be understood and fully utilised if handled and explained by a forensic science expert. In fact, in many cases, the reason for a conviction or the release of an innocent party is due to the proper processing of a scientific evidence base. Therefore, it is essential that evidence is not misinterpreted or misused as this may lead to a miscarriage of justice.

What is the Role of a Forensic Scientist Expert Witness in Court?

When it comes to cases in which the scientific evidence is ambiguous or hasn’t necessarily been studied to the necessary extent, a forensic scientist expert witness can add clarity and much needed expertise. A forensic science expert witness will be called upon to conduct their own tests and examinations, review the existing evidence or of course do both. There are evidence bases which a forensic scientist may be of great use in interpreting, here are a few examples:

  • Substances on clothing: Many crimes will leave substances on a victim or aggressor’s clothing. In cases of acid attacks the substance found on the clothing can help ascertain the type of acid used and potentially where it was sourced from. In sexual assault cases there may be semen samples on clothing which can help to uncover the identity of the assaulter.
  • Toxicology: A forensic science expert witness can review the evidence and conduct tests in cases involving drink driving, alcohol-fuelled behaviour, poisoning, substance overdoses or medical complications. Their expertise would allow the expert to draw a toxicological conclusion on the extent to which a substance had an impact on an individual’s health or state of mind.
  • DNA: A forensic scientist expert witness is able to provide clarity on the accuracy of a DNA sample or test result. Furthermore, they may be able to use existing evidence alongside their own tests to ascertain the validity of previous reports.
  • Blood splatter: By reviewing blood stains at the crime scene and on the evidence (e.g. clothing, weapon etc.), a forensic scientist will be able to uncover all manner of facts about the crime which took place. The timing, nature and intricate details of a crime can often be found in evidence of this nature.
  • Fingerprint: Fingerprint analysis can be crucial in a plethora of crimes. By using state of the art technology, forensic scientists can uncover the identity of an individual by analysing fingerprints left on the crime scene or on an item. This evidence can confirm an individual’s role in a crime or presence at the crime scene.

The Importance of a Forensic Scientists’ Report

A key role of a forensic science expert witness is to ensure that a complex evidence base may be understood by the court. As one might expect, forensic science is often a complicated and detailed practice to understand and therefore it is essential that their findings and conclusions can be understood. Following their review of the evidence and their own examinations, a forensic science expert witness will write a detailed but easily understood report for court which will summarise the evidence of the case and add a great deal of clarity to court proceedings.

Hiring a Forensic Scientist Through Foresight

Forensic science is a broad and complicated subject. The practitioners of this discipline all have their own specialities and key areas of knowledge. Therefore, when you instruct a forensic scientist expert witness it is essential that their expertise is aligned with the needs of your case. The dedicated case managers at Foresight ensure that you are sent the CVs of the most relevant and court-ready forensic science expert witnesses in the country. This will guarantee that you receive the expert help you need in a timely fashion. To find out more about our services, contact us today.


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