WHAT IS FORENSIC DOCUMENT EXAMINATION?
Forensic document examination, or Questioned Documents, is a forensic discipline that encompasses various areas of work relating to the examination of handwritten, printed and other machine-generated documents.
When the authorship, authenticity or origin of a document becomes the subject of a dispute or an investigation, the document becomes known as the “questioned document”. Usually, known specimens must be provided for comparison with the questioned documents. The forensic document examiner will conduct an examination of the documents submitted, issue a report on the findings and conclusions, and provide expert testimony in court, if required.
WHEN IS FORENSIC DOCUMENT EXAMINATION REQUIRED?
Forensic document examination has applications in both criminal cases such as “white-collar crime” (fraud, forgery and counterfeiting cases) and civil litigation such as contractual disputes.
- Frequently, the examination of handwriting and signatures to determine authorship by comparison against known specimens of particular person(s) is critical in cases involving financial and security documents, agreements and contracts, cheques, insurance applications, suicide notes, anonymous or threat letters and other business correspondence. Examination can also be done for Chinese handwriting and signatures.
- Apart from the identification of handwriting and verification of signatures, other document evidence may also be critical in certain cases. For example, forensic examinations may be required to show that the stamp impression on an important business contract was not made with the official company stamp, or the printing on pages of the multi-page contract were not all printed with the same printer. In another case, it can be used to detect erasures, alterations, obliterations or other signs of tampering in an agreement between two parties.
- Forensic document examination can also help to determine the authenticity of suspected counterfeit documents and packaging materials, decipher indented or latent handwriting impressions, differentiate between inks and provide linkages among various documents.
HOW CAN THE FORENSIC EXPERTS GROUP HELP YOU?
The Forensic Experts Group can help with your questioned document problems by providing forensic analysis of the handwriting, signatures and other aspects of document examination. Drop us a call or an e-mail if you require consultancy on the possible types of forensic examinations that can be performed to strengthen your case.
To find out more, read about our article “Forensic Document Examination A Primer for Lawyers” featured in the Singapore Law Gazette, Mar 2015
Please call us at 6459 0494 or email us at email@example.com.