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A study on medical experts input in crime scene investigations (CSI); Is there room for improvement? A preliminary study for a National Audit

Authors:

PAS Edirisinghe ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About PAS
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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IDG Kitulwatte,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About IDG
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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WDJK Amarasena,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About WDJK
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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IKST Wellagiriya,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About IKST
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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NV Lawrence

Kelaniya Police Division, LK
About NV
Police SOCO unit, Sapugaskenda
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Abstract

Introduction: CSI is an investigation into a ‘suspicious incident’ where there is an alleged criminality. Although the primary investigator is the police, CSI is a team effort and services of various experts are obtained to collect evidence in its pristine state.

Objective: To determine the percentage and type of crime scene investigations where medical officers input was obtained and to evaluate the type of contribution by medical experts.

Method:
A retrospective descriptive study was carried on all CSI of alleged murder cases that Police SOCO Unit Sapugaskanda attended from 1st of January 2008 to 31st August 2009. An interviewer administered questionnaire was designed where answering was based on data from case notes, personal experiences of the SOCO officers and one opinion question. The questionnaire was first assessed for face and content validity in 10 cases.

Results: Out of 78 CSI conducted 3 incidents had multiple deaths (n-16 & 4) where two were bomb explosions. 23%, 21% & 17% were from sharp force trauma, explosions and firearms respectively. In 13% of cases causative factor was not obvious to SOCO officers. Half of the cases (n-39) were informed during morning hours and police records stated 98% were attended within 30minutes. JMO was called for 11 incidents varying from explosion(1), asphyxia(3), sharp force(2), burn(1), skeletal remains(1) to not known(3). The reason for calling was to get assistance in interpreting injuries and advice on further investigation in 67% of cases. Question on SOCO officer’s opinion on expert opinion of JMO resulted 100% satisfaction. The practice of producing CSI photographs to the JMO was not conducted in a uniform manner.

Conclusion:
CSIs that were attended by JMOs resulted in satisfactory address of issues. If the practice of viewing of digital scene visit photos prior or after autopsy is regularized with routine reviews, quality of medical expert input will increase.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v1i1.7263

Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2011; 1(1), Jan-April : 7-13

How to Cite: Edirisinghe, P. et al., (2014). A study on medical experts input in crime scene investigations (CSI); Is there room for improvement? A preliminary study for a National Audit. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 1(1), pp.7–13. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v1i1.7263
Published on 07 Aug 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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