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Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, has said that with human witnesses in court gradually becoming a thing of the past, it is critical that Jamaica strengthens the process of forensic investigation.
“The Jamaica Jurisprudence has been built up over the years on somebody witnessing an incident and giving evidence. This is a problem today, because the human witness is almost becoming a thing of the past,” he argued.
Senator MacMillan was speaking at a graduation ceremony for 30 officers, who participated in a Crime Zone Forensic Mapping Course, at the College of Insurance and Professional Studies, on September 5.
He noted that over the decades, globally, Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs), have been constantly searching for new ways to help jurors visualise crime scenes, but the latest crime zone concept is facilitating much more accurate presentation.
“In this ongoing pursuit, law enforcement adopted photography and hand drawing diagrams, to create two dimensional representation of the crime and accident scene, which is normally flat and lacking in vertical depth. With the latest crime zone concept, this practice is moving a step further. Such high-tech representation of crime scenes, facilitates much more accurate presentations of bullet holes, blood spots and other evidence that is difficult to document with the original two dimensional methods,” he said.
The Minister further underlined that with visual documentation considered one of the most important types of evidence impacting a jury, the Forensic course provides the CSIs with a number of advantages.
“We know that visual documentation is considered one of the most important types of evidence presented to a jury. However, the details of a diagram, or lack of it, can dramatically impact the jury’s perception of the chronology and probable event surrounding a crime. This can ultimately have a disastrous impact on the verdict. This training course is intended to improve the capabilities of our CSIs in the use of these tools, which offer a number of advantages, including increased automation, faster measurement and many more measuring points, which will yield a more detailed diagram,” Senator MacMillan emphasised.
He added that not only would forensic investigation help bring crime scene to life, but it would aid in the investigation of motor vehicle theft.
“The crime zone concept, as an added dimension, will aid in the investigation of motor vehicle theft and other forms of grand theft. This could also go well with insurance companies and other organisations, which are affected by criminal actions of this nature,” he said.
The two-week course was financed by the Insurance Association of Jamaica. The officers were drawn from the Major Investigation Task Force (MIT), the Scene of Crime, and the Traffic Unit.