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By Dr. Naveen
In absolute terms, the phrase ‘forensic science’ means science that is applied to legal matters. The word ‘forensic’ itself originates from the Latin word ‘forum’ which during the Hellenistic and Roman times was the general assembly where all facts of criminal or disturbing behaviour were discussed in the open and verdicts were reached regarding the suspects involved.
What is forensic medicine
Forensic medicine, which is also known as legal medicine, relates to application of medical knowledge for dispensation of justice in a court of law. Thus this subject teaches a person how to use his knowledge of medicine,biology,chemistry etc, to clarify or solve legal problems or issues
Branches of forensic medicine;
Forensic pathology Forensic toxicology Forensic ballistic Forensic serology Forensic radiology Forensic dactylography Forensic psychiatry Forensic obstetrics Forensic odontology Forensic Criminology
Why doctors needs knowledge of forensic medicine? Often doctor is the chief source of evidence
upon which legal decisions are made.FM prepares the doctors to face such situation with efficiency. A doctor of any speciality may be asked at any time to give medicolegal opinion in case of death.FM helps them in such case Fair knowledge of FM is needed to safeguard a doctor himself from criminal cases. A doctor come to know his own code of conduct what to do and what not through FM.
THE DOCTOR & THE LAW
The legal system:
Civil law : It concerns a dispute between two individual or parties which do not amount to offence. eg.land dispute,divorce case etc. Criminal law : It concerns offence w/c are considered to be against general public’s interest. eg. Murder,theft,rape etc.
Defendant: The accused person is called defendant Plaintiff: The other party bringing the action is called the plaintiff.
Role of a doctor??
As a defendant As a witness -ordinary witness -professional witness -expert witness
“An inquest is an inquiry or investigation into the cause of unnatural death or sudden and suspicious death.”
Types of inquest
Police inquest Magistrate inquest Coroner’s inquest
Here the officer incharge of the police station conducts the inquest. Invastigating officer Should not be below the subinspector
When officer incharge of the police office recieves the information Inform about the incidence to the nearest executive magistrate Go to the place where the body of such person is Makes an investigation in presense of 2 or more respective persons ( Panchas) Prepare reports ( panchanamas) Signed by the police officer and the witness If no foul play is suspected, dead body will be handed over to the relative & if there is any suspicious about the foul play then will be sent for PM examination. Body should be sent with the copy of inquest report and chalan ,and one report is forwarded to the magistrate.
It is conducted by the district magistrate,subdivisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate Done in case of: Death in prison,police custody,death due to police firing ,dowry death,Exhumation etc.
Difference between police inquest and magistrates inquest
Police: Cannot hold inquest in case of death in prison ,police custody,jail etc. Gets help from the witness Have to inform nearest magistrate Cannot issue warrant Cannot order exhumation of the dead body
“ The person who saw,heard or know the incident and is called upon by the court to give evidence is known as witness.”
Types of witness:
Common witness: “common witness is the person who give evidence about the facts observed by him.” Expert witness: “expert witness is a person who is capable of giving opinion about the cases.” or “Expert witness is a person who has been trained or is skilled in technical or scientific subject.”
Subpoena or summons: “It is a document compelling the attendance of a witness in a court of law under penalty on a particular day or time for the purpose of giving evidence.” Conduct money : “It is the fee offered or paid to a witness,in civil cases at the time of serving the summons to meet the expense towards attending the court.”
Evidence: “All legal means which will help to prove or disprove any matter in question is called evidence.”
Types of medical evidence:
1. Oral 2. documentary
“It includes all the documents,written or printed which may be produced for the inspection of the court during the course of trail.” 3 types: 1.medical certificates 2.Medicolegal reports 3.dying declaration
1.medical certificates: - fitness certificates,death certificates,health certificates etc. - NMC / PMDC registered - signature or left thumb impression of the person should be taken - Don’t take fee in case of death certificate.
2. Medicolegal reports: “these reports are prepared by a medical man in response to a requesition from a magistrate or a police officer.” eg.post mortem report,injury certificate,certificate in response to sexual offence- rape etc.
3.Dying declaration: “it is the oral or written statement of a person,who is dying as a result of some unlawful act.” -magistrate should be called if there is time -oath is not administered. ‘dying persons tells the truth.’
Dying deposition: “It is a statement made by a dying person on oath in a sound state of mind and recorded by the magistrate in the presence of the accused or his lawyer who has an opportunity to cross examine the dying person.” - In other word called “bed side court.”
Here the doctor has to attend the court when summoned.
Summon Conduct money When turn comes stand inside the witness box Take oath Now the question will be asked in the following manner: i) Examination in chief- done by the lawyer on behalf of that party or who called him ii) Cross examination- question is put by the lawyer of the opposite party iii) Re-examination- again done by the laywer of the same side to correct any mistakes iv) Question by the judge- can ask in any stage in case of doubt
During cross examination_ Opposite lawyer may say“I object yr honour”, “objection over ruled” – doctor has to answer. “Ruling on the object”
Roles/duties of doctor in a witness box
Should be well prepared Take all reports,relevent records Be well dressed and modest Do not discuss the case with anyone in court except the lawyer of yr own Stand up straight Be relaxed and calm Speak slowly,distinctly and audibly Be confident but not over confident Use simple language Address the judge by his proper title Say ‘In my oponion’ don’t say I think Never attempts to memorize
IDENTIFICATION OF THE LIVING AND DEAD
“Identification means establishment of exact individuality of a person - living or dead.” Types : - Complete or absolute - Incomplete or partial
Complete Identification: “It means the absolute fixation of the personality of an individual and determination of the exact position occupied by him in the society.” Incomplete Identification: “It means certain data have been ascertained about a person but,other relevant particles necessary for the establishment of his personality are unknown.”
When a doctor should identify a living person??
Marriage ,Passport,Admission into the institute,Insurance,pension claims,missing person Assault, rape, sodomy,murder,interchange of newborn babies in hospital
Sudden and unexpected death Railway,RTA,aircraft accident Hidden dead bodies Skeleton of isolated bones Partially burned dead bodies
1.Race 2.Religion 3.Age 4.Sex 5.General configuration- height/wt 6.Hair 7.Finger prints and foot prints 8.External pecularities eg.moles,scars,tattoo marks 9.Teeth 10.Handwriting 11.Speech and voice 12.Gait,trick of manner and habit 13.Memory and education 14.Personal effects – clothes,pocket contents,jewellery etc.
“It may be defined as the biological concept denoting the different breeding of origin of human being ( living in different or same zone with different characteristics) united by common hereditary.” Mainly 3 types: - Caucasion- europeans, part of US,australia - Mongolian- east asia ( china,japan, indonesia) - Negro- Africa,US,
Distinguishing Points between 3 races:
Skin Hair Eyes Forehead Face clothes
Why you are a Hindu or a Muslim??
Male : Circumcision Callosities : a thickened hard mass of a skin occurs in the area w/c undergoes excessive use Clothes Female: Vermilion mark Artificial spot Tattoo marks Position of nose ring aperture
3 methods: - Physical examination - Gonadal biopsy - Sex Chromatin ( Nuclear sexing) 3 types of body: - fresh body - Decomposed body - Mutilated fragments
1.Fresh body: - quite easy - by doing local and physical examination
2.Decomposed body: - see for the presence of prostate or uterus - resists long after decomposition - If you can’t find it histological examination of the suspected t/s.
3.Mutilated fragments: - study in details in class of “Autopsy”.
Histologically how we determine the sex??
Here we examine the suspected ovarian or testicular t/s microscopically in case of decomposed body. In cells of a women: -“Barr body” tiny nodules of chromatin attached to the inner surface of the nuclear membrane -“Davidson’s body” small drum stick like nuclear attachment in WBC
“This is the condition in which male and female characteristics coexist in varying propertion in same individual.” --True Hermophrodism: internal sex organ of both sex present -- False Hermophrodism:external genitalia is of opposite sex
Medicolegal Aspects: - Identification of an individual both in the living and dead. - Rape, Kidnapping,prostitution,Criminal abortion - others: Employment,marriage contract
Age determining factors:
Examination of teeth General development Ossifications of bones and joints Secondary sexual characteristics
7 years : child below 7 years of age cannot be convinced to crime. 15 years: sexual intercourse with one’s wife below the age of 15 – rape - can work in a factory 16 years: age of consent of sexual intercourse in female - offenders under 16 – juvenile offenders - taking away a boy under 16- kidnapping 18 years: marriageable age of female - age of entering into government service - Taking away a girl under 18 – kidnapping 21 years: - attainment of majority - marriagable age of male
“It is the system for taking the impressions of the bulbs of the fingers and thumbs with pointed ink on an unglazed white paper which is examined by the magnifying lens.” Characteristics: -Present from birth -Remains constant for whole life -Absolutely different from individual
Loops : 67% Whorls: 25% Arches: 6-7% Composite: 1-2% “LWAK”
100% individuality denotes by dactylography To established the identity of criminal by detecting chance impression left on the scene of the crimes eg.weapons,glasses. To maintain identity record Useful in banks,other finantial institutes Identification of servants,soldiers,sailors. ‘1 in 64 thousand millions’
Deformities: congenital: cleft lip,cleft palate,supernumery fingers acquired: malunited # bones,unilateral wasting of muscles
Scars : These are simply the fibrous t/s covered by epithelium without hair follicles, pigments or sweat glands. Medicolegal importance: 1.Identification of person living or dead 2. shape of scar nature of weapon used 3. Linea albicans : previous pregnancy
Occupational marks: - Dye in dye workers - Depression in lower part of the sternum shoe makers Medicolegal importance: Identity social position
Tattoo marks: “These are the designs imprinted in the skin of some individuals by multiple puncture wounds in the true skin with needles or similar penetrating tools dipped in a dye.” Dyes commonly used: Indigo/ cobalt/ carbon/ Vermilion/ prussion blue/ indian ink etc
Medicolegal importance: - May help in identity by special design - may indicate religion or god of worship - may indicate social status - may indicate behavioral characteristics Natural disappearance?? vermilion,cinnabar,ultramarine disappears after a minimum of 10 years. carbon never disappears
Artificial procedure to remove tattoo marks:
Surgery Applying chemical subs,carbon dioxide snow,silver tannate Galvanocautery Lesser beam
“It is the characteristic of individual speciality,if it is written rapidly.” May be changed in : -Gradual increasing in age -some mental or nervous disease -when person becomes insane -before the time of death
A criminal removed his tattoo surgically
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