Human identification

Human identification is the determination of the individuality of a person based on certain physical characteristics, i.e. exact fixation of personality. In partial or incomplete identification, certain facts are determined, e.g., race, age, sex, stature, etc., while other characters are not known.

Human identification is necessary in:

(1) Living people.

(2) Recently dead people.

(3) Decomposed bodies.

(4) Mutilated bodies, and

(5) Skeleton.

Human identification is necessary:

(1) In criminal cases like the ones accused of assault, murder, rape, etc., interchange of newborn babies in hospitals, impersonation, etc.

(2) In civil cases like marriage, inheritance, passport, insurance claims, disputed sex, missing persons, etc.

At least two Human identification marks should be noted by the doctor in all medico-legal cases. Before identifying the accused in the Court, the doctor should verify the marks noted by him.

Human identification

The police have to establish the identity of a person. In some cases, the doctor may be able to supply the police with certain facts about an individual, a dead body or fragmentary remains, which help the police to complete the process.

Visual Human identification becomes difficult or impossible in cases of fires, explosions, advanced decomposition, mutilation, aircraft accidents, earthquakes, etc. Identification of a dead victim often helps the police to trace the victim’s movements, to know his background, talk to his friends and find out his enemies.

THE CORPUS DELICTI: The corpus delicti (the body of offence; the essence of crime) means, the facts of any criminal offence, e.g., murder. The corpus delicti of murder is the fact that a person died from-unlawful violence. It includes the body of the victim and other facts which are conclusive of death by foul play, such as a bullet or a broken knife- blade found in the body and responsible for death.

Clothing’s showing marks of the weapon, and drawings and photographs of the deceased showing fatal injuries are also included in this term. The main part of corpus delicti is the establishment of identity of the dead body, and infliction of violence in a particular way, at a particular time and place, by the person or the one charged with the crime and none other.

The case against the accused cannot be established unless there is convincing proof of these points. If the victim’s identity is not known, it becomes difficult for the police to solve the crime. The human identification of a dead body and proof of corpus delicti is essential before a sentence is passed in murder trials, as unclaimed, decomposed bodies, or portions of a dead body, or bones are sometimes produced to support false charge.

However, cases have occurred where the death sentence was passed even when the body was not found or was not identified.

Human identification DATA

(1) Race and religion.

(2) Sex.

(3) Age.

(4) General development and stature.

(5) Complexion and features.

(6) External peculiarities, such as moles, birthmarks, malformations, scars, tattoo marks, wounds, occupation marks, etc.

(7) Anthropometric measurements.

(8) Fingerprints and footprints.

(9) Teeth.

(10) Personal effects: clothes, pocket contents, jewellery, etc.

(ii) Handwriting.

(12) Speech and voice.

(13) Gait, tricks of manner and habit.

(14) Memory and education.

11 to 14 are useful only in the living. As no single feature is reliable for it, a combination of features is taken. Sex, age, and stature are primary characteristics of human identification.