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What a forensic investigation means

Member: Nifa

A new show is about to start on BBC1 called Murder, Mystery and My Family. The show will re-examine cold cases through a modern forensic prism and find out if people who were convicted and executed for murder were actually guilty or whether the evidence had been purely circumstantial. 

This might seem an odd thing to discuss in a blog about forensic accountancy but the process in a murder investigation is very similar to a financial one – collect the evidence, examine it forensically and then be able to see if the evidence points to guilt or innocence.

From the Latin forensic, the word forensic means ‘relating to or denoting the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime’.  It can simply mean “related to courts of law”.
When something is described as forensic it often means that it has to do with finding evidence to solve a crime or to support a civil legal case.  A forensic investigator is someone who can stand up in a court of law and give credible testimony.

Forensic investigators can help to prove innocence or guilt and can act for claimants or defendants.  The overriding duty of an expert witness however is always to the court.

In a financial investigation, the forensic accountant will sift the evidence, use their experience and professional judgement and be able to present their findings, if necessary, in court. 

Author: Roger Isaacs, 19 February 2018

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