Bloodstain pattern analysis & Bayes: A case report


The findings from a bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) may assist in formulating or falsifying scenarios that are considered in the investigative stages of a criminal investigation. When a case proceeds to trial the bloodstain pattern expert may be asked about the relevance of their findings given scenarios that are proposed by the prosecution and defense counsel.

Such opinions provided by an expert are highly relevant to police investigation or legal proceedings, but the reasoning behind the opinion or implicit assumptions made by the expert may not be transparent. A proper framework for the evaluation of forensic findings has been developed since the late twentieth century, based on the hierarchy of propositions, Bayesian reasoning and a model for case assessment and interpretation. This framework, when implemented in casework, mitigates some of the risks of cognitive biases, and makes the reasoning and scientific basis for the opinion transparent. This framework is broadly used across forensic science disciplines. In this paper we describe its application to the field of BPA using a case example from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI).

Reference Meijrink, L., van der Scheer, M., & Kokshoorn, B. (2023). Bloodstain pattern analysis & Bayes: A case report. Science & Justice, 63(4), 551-561.
1 July 2023

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