The essay is a critical analysis of forensic evidence in a case that is summarized herein. It is worth noting that historically, criminals did escape the hands of justice due to a lack of authentic, relevant, and up-to-date mechanisms that would prove beyond doubt that indeed they are responsible for certain wrongdoing. All this changed when forensics came into the limelight. By definition forensics or forensic science refers to the process of applying a wider spectrum of sciences to answer various questions that are of interest in the legal process of determining the perpetrator or offender. The main focus of forensics is to authenticate or provide room for further examination of samples left at the scene of crimes. It was due to the appreciation of the fact that most of those held responsible for certain crimes were indeed innocent while the culprit was at large that the process was established and gained popularity. Similarly, the evidence used to prosecute suspects was indeed weak compared to the strong evidence of the innocence of certain victims.
Additionally, it is worth noting that in the past, the only reliable kind of evidence was an eye-witness account of a crime. Currently, with the advent of technology and the fact that having concrete evidence is being a significant element of any given case, forensic science is the way to go in building a case against criminals that will pass jury muster. It is important to define forensic evidence; it has been thought to refer to facts/substantiation that can be used in a court of law and obtained in a scientist manner/processes for an instance blood test, DNA test, ballistic tests among other methods. Courts always call for the provision of evidence that will leave the jury with no single doubt that the accused committed a crime.
Summary of the case study
The incident took place in a BP station which also has a self-service shop. In the morning, Rupert and his friend Barney had gone for coffee. While cleaning before leaving the business premise, the station, he heard footsteps. His eyes met a man in a balaclava, dark motorcycle jacket, rubber gloves, and an overall. The person was in a possession of a revolver which he used to order Rupert back into the shop.
Inside the shop, the man ordered Rupert to join his friend behind the counters. While still holding the weapon pointed at the two, he demanded to be given cash. He also forced Rupert to lock all doors to the shop and that the lights should be switched off, for the later demand he was told that it cannot be done. The man then threw an orange garbage bag at Barley demanding that it is filled with cigarettes. Thinking that this was a joke, Barley declined the order making the man shoot between the two of them, Barley and Rupert upon which the bullet lodged in the wall. Rupert then gave out $402 while his friend started filling the garbage bag with cigarettes.
A second bullet was shot striking a radio cassette. This made Barley tackle the intruder and both fell in on the ground struggling to get possession of the gun. During the tussle, Barley got shot in the thigh in which the bullet got lodged. He managed to hit the robber severally in the head and eventually possessed the gun. Barley closed the door, knowing that he (the robber) was trapped, he shouted that he was made to do what he did and begged to be allowed to go. He then picked a car battery hauling it smashing laminated glass doors.
Squeezing himself through the small hole, although he managed to get out, he cut himself leaving behind a bloodstain. Leaving using the back door, Rupert together with a security man followed the offender using a car. They saw a figure in Chestnut Avenue, the direction in which the robber ran towards then he entered a blue commodore and appeared to be kind of staggering. The two followed the car for one kilometer and came back after noting the registration number to be CFJ 043. Barley was taken for medication.
Police later established a blue commodore CFJ 342 was under the name Charlie Dawkin’s father and recovered at Nancy’s home address. Nancy was a girlfriend to Charlie.
Forensic evidence for the case and their significance
There are several forensic pieces of evidence for this case each having a varying degree of significance in trying to establish the real culprit. For instance, the intruder was in protective clothing that could conceal his identity, the balaclava is an outfit worn in the head covering all facial features apart from the mouth, the eyes. Although the robber concealed his identity several other physical attributes particularly his height can be used to trace him. Since Rupert and his friend were being ordered, there are chances that they looked into the intruder’s eyes and mouth. Such information pertaining description of what they saw could help investigators establish who the perpetrator was.
By giving descriptions, especially concerning the color of the victim’s eyes, shape and color of their lips, teeth as well as his approximate height, using photographs there are higher chances that the victim can be easily identified. This kind of identification is of significance and can prove to be very helpful especially if both Rupert and Barley were keen enough to observe such characteristics. Consequently, voice can be used to identify the robber. It is important to have in mind that after being subdued, the intruder shouted, such sounds can be analyzed by audio experts especially if the radio cassette was on and tapped the audio in this particular case. Those who can do the retrieval of electronic evidence to be used in a court of law are digital forensics.
Forensic evidence that can be helpful is trace evidence. When the intruder threw an orange garbage bag to Barley to fill it with a cigarette, it is apparent that he did not go out with it. A closer examination of the bag by experts might give some insight on the identity of the perpetrator, especially if before putting on the gloves he touched the bag with bare hands. The only problem with this evidence is that it only depends on speculation on whether or not the robber used bare hands before coming to the service shop.
When Barley hit the intruder several times in the head, there are possibilities of hair or another kind of fiber traces that remained either on his hands or the object he used to hit the robber. If there will be traces of hair then a DNA test carried out will give a clue who the perpetrator was. This is because hairs have strands usually unique to every human being as it contains strands of DNA and can’t be duplicated or forged. This can then with a higher degree of precision prove that a certain individual in question was present at a crime scene. Similarly, fibers can be used to identify a certain individual in this case perpetrators especially if the victims can identify the clothing worn. Rupert is in a better position to provide such information to the relevant experts as he can give such detail without mincing words. For instance, the intruder was in a black motorcycle jacket, gloves, overalls, and a balaclava.
On the same note, after realizing that he is trapped, the robber held a car battery and hauled it smashing the tinted glass door. The battery can be used in trying to identify who the perpetrator was through fingerprinting assuming that during the struggle with Barley, his gloves slipped off. Employing fingerprints to provide evidence in addition to telling us who the real perpetrator is, also informs us with greater precision that such a suspect was indeed present at the place where the crime took place more so if the suspect had no reason of being at such a place. Regarding the analysis of a broken piece of the glass door, there are chances that while squeezing himself through the small hole, after cutting himself, there might be traces of broken glass in his overall. If the suspect is visited and such cloths are found as well as broken pieces of glasses then chemical analysis to determine the reflex index needs to be done. If the finding establishes that there is a match between the two, there will be no doubt that indeed the suspect is the perpetrator involved in the BP filling station incident.
Although the car registration number noted by the security guard did not match with the one police established days after the incident, there are possibilities that the guard did not see it properly. For this reason, there is a need to further dig deeper into how the blue commodore with registration almost similar to the one noted by the security guard was used on, before, and after the incident at the filling station. A close examination of this will give more insight on the time it was used and if it coincided with the incident then identifying the offender will be much less a difficult task. With technological innovation, cars can be automatically checked through CCTV records by automatic number plate recognition.
More importantly, the work of a ballistic will be sort after to support forensic evidence from usage of a firearm in this case at the filling station involving Rupert and his friend Barley. In most cases, although offenders manage to get away with their weapons, in this case, the robber did not and thus it will be an easy task for the ballistics to establish the kind of weapon used. Nonetheless, the bullet that got lodged in the wall after the robber fired between Barley and Rupert, the one in Barley’s thighs and the one that stuck in the radio cassette could also be used to establish the weapon used if Barley could not have managed to posses the gun from the robber. Additionally, other factors such as the firing range direction, firing angle as well as distance can be determined with greater precision by ballistics. Such information from ballistic experts will be helpful for crime investigators to conclude reasonably regarding the crime.
Additionally, in America, most of those in possession of firearms do provide the federal with several details. There is a higher chance that since the robber was snatched the gun; the relevant authorities can adequately use such information as a serial number to identify the owner. The only problem with this evidence is that if the gun was acquired illegally without following due process, then there is very minimal chance of successfully using it to identify the perpetrator.
Another evidence from the forensic background may entail an in-depth interview between investigators or rather forensic psychologists and the victims and probably the suspect to learn or find out their minds so that to be able to establish the circumstances behind such an act. Because after being subdued and realizing that he was helpless if the offender is thoroughly screened by a forensic officer, he might give in and name those he claimed to have sent him.
Last but not least, the most credible forensic evidence is the one that entails testing the blood stain the perpetrator left behind after squeezing himself in the small hole. Scientifically DNA strands are unique to every human being unless in the case of identical twins. Historically and scientifically, a DNA test has proved to be among the most reliable forensic evidence in the courts of law. It is worth remembering that not only blood traces can be analyzed to ascertain the identity of the perpetrator but other body fluids such as saliva, semen among others. The power of DNA tests can be seen in a case in which Krone in 1991 was prosecuted for murdering a Phoenix cocktail waitress. Later DNA tests disassociated the murder and at the same time successfully identified another person to be linked with the murder.
Although the whole process might take a few days to around three weeks, the outcome will result in the identification of the robber at the BP filling station with a very high degree of precision.
Following the principle that ‘every contact leaves a trace’, forensic science, as well as evidence as a result of technological innovation, has shaped what happens in the corridor of justice. Initially, it was the norm for innocent individuals to be prosecuted and even sentenced to death while the real perpetrators walked free committing other serious crimes.
From an examination of what happened in the BP filling station involving Rupert and his friend Barley in which they were attacked, several forensic pieces of evidence will lead the investigation but with varying degrees of significance. Among the forensic evidence include ballistic analysis, DNA test, evidence from hair and or fiber from the robber’s body and clothing, the blue commodore car, physical identification of the robber, interview between a forensic psychologist and the two victims, analysis of the orange bag and finally, analysis of broken glass, the voice of the robber when he shouted saying that he was sent.
In my own opinion, the most significant forensic evidence that will help in investigating the whole case and probably prosecute the right victim is the one done by using a DNA test. This is because, the blood trace, hairs do have strands unique to every human unless when twins are in the question.