Crime scene evidence collection – Basic Rules for Preservation of Medico legal Evidence: For evidence to be legally accepted by the Courts:
(1) It must be obtained in a legal manner.
(2) It must be relevant to the issue.
(3) The chain of custody of the item must be intact and known.
(4) It must be evaluated by qualified experts.
Crime scene evidence collection:
(1) Collect every article even remotely likely to be helpful in the investigation. Note the source and the relative location of the exhibits at the time they were recovered.
(2) Collect any item likely to carry fingerprints.
(3) Use separate container for each item.
(4) Every article collected must bear identifying marks. Two marking methods are commonly used.
- (A) Direct, in which marks are put on the item of evidence itself.
- (B) Indirect, in which notations of identification are placed on a container in which the evidence is placed. The container should be labelled.
The data to be recorded for crime scene evidence collection on the label are: case number, location and description of the recovered evidence, a specific number, person who recovered the evidence, date of recovery and initials. The disadvantage of attaching a tag is, it can be accidentally torn off or intentionally removed as the evidence is handled or examined forensically.
(5) Exhibits must be protected against mutilation, alteration, or contamination. If any alteration has been made between the time the exhibit was recovered and the time it was offered in evidence, this must be justified by the laboratory technician.
Preservation of Physical crime scene evidence collection:
(1) Card board “pillbox” type of containers.
(3) The pharmacist fold using paper.
(4) Film containers (35mm). (5) Plastic vials and jars are useful for small samples, e.g. hair, bullets, blood and organs.
(6) Plastic bags for organs, clothing and larger articles, and to cover the hands or other parts of the body.
(7) Larger plastic bags may be used for bodies.
Avoid excessive handling of the crime scene evidence collection that is gathered, as it may cause contamination or loss of transitory materials.