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Discuss And Evaluate The Use Of Statistics In Current And Historical Cases Of Forensic Significance

916 words - 4 pages

The science of statistics refers to two distinct areas of knowledge. One area refers to the analysis of uncertainty and the other area refers to the listing of events, counts of entities for various economic, social, and scientific purposes. It is for these reasons that statistics can be of great value within the area of forensic science. Evidence that is used within a legal setting, contains doubt, which means that this evidence requires some statistical and problematic reasoning which plays an imperative role in the criminal investigation, prosecution and trial. Statistical and problematic reasoning also plays a major part in relation to forensic scientific evidence, such as ...view middle of the document...

When appellate judges dismissed De Berk’s appeal, they wrote that statistics had not influenced their verdict, and that every one of the deaths had been indisputably proven to be unnatural. Nevertheless after a campaign led by Gill, an expert found that they could just as well have been natural. Re-evaluation of the statistics using different methods reached extraordinarily different results, reducing the odds from one in 342 million to one in 48. A further analysis by Professor Gill further reduced the odds to one in nine (Hawkes, 2010)

R v Adams [1996]
In the case of R v Adams, the use of Bayesian analysis was subjected to some debate over the final ruling. The victim described her attacker as in his twenties. A suspect was arrested and in an identity line-up, the victim failed to pick him out. The suspect didn’t match the victim’s description because Adams was nearly 40. Adams had an alibi for the night in question and the DNA evidence was the only incriminating evidence heard by the jury. This case was the first case in Britain to rely on DNA evidence. The DNA evidence was used in the form of a DNA profile obtained from semen on a vaginal swab that was obtained from the victim. All other evidence pointed towards his innocence. Adams was convicted on the DNA evidence and the case went to appeal.
The court of appeals decision in the R v Adams appeal case, focussed on the use of which Bayesian analysis can be put to the court. During the initial trial, the defence was permitted to lead with evidence of Bayes’ Theorem. The argument during the appeal was that the trial judge shouldn’t have permitted...

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