The Importance of Collection, Custody and Preservation of Forensic Evidence

1560 Words7 Pages
The collection, custody and preservation of forensic evidence is a vital aspect of evidence integrity, without proper adherence to these procedures, crucial evidence that could potentially have great impact on a court case could be rendered useless. In the case of criminal proceedings, a skilled defence lawyer will look to scrutinise every step taken by forensic practitioners’ involved within the case in regards to the continuity of the evidence, in doing this they attempt to undermine the practitioner’s ability to properly carry out strict evidence collection, protection and preservation procedures and also look to find fault in the techniques they used to carry out these procedures.

Collection of evidence is usually a term
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The power to take forensic samples is designated under the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 (NSW), Anderson (2008) states that the “police may conduct a “forensic procedure” to obtain a body sample for DNA analysis, only if you have been suspected of having committed an indictable offence” it is also possible to volunteer in order to establish your innocence. If any procedure is incorrectly or illegally carried out, valuable evidence collected could be found inadmissible by the courts when the case goes to trial, this could potentially ruin years of police investigation.

This was illustrated in the U.S case Michigan v. Tyler et al (1978) 436 U.S. 499 in which two business partners where convicted of conspiracy to burn real property by a Michigan trial court, the two appealed the decision to the supreme court and won, the court had agreed that various pieces of physical evidence and testimony, where all obtained through unconsented and multiple warrantless entries by police and fire officials onto the burned premises. The court held that the warrantless searches where unconstitutional and therefore the evidence obtained was inadmissible, under the U.S Fourth Amendment. Similar rules are applicable in Australia and are guided by the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002
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