Home Office statistics indicate that there are over 20,000 offences in England each year that involve the use of firearms. Firearm forensic expert witnesses can assist with evidence evaluations, including an assessment of ballistics – analysis of bullets and bullet impacts to determine information that can assist investigators or court proceedings.
Firearm and tool mark examinations, commonly referred to as “ballistic fingerprinting”, involve a firearm forensic expert witness analysing firearm, ammunition, rifling patterns, and markings upon projectiles in order to establish whether a certain firearm or device was used in the commission of a crime.
Gunshot residue (GSR) is principally composed of burnt and un-burnt particles from the explosive primer, the propellant, as well as components from the bullet, the cartridge case and the firearm used. There are other firearm forensic expert witnesses who use other definitions, such as cartridge discharge residue (CDR) or firearm discharge residue (FDR).
firearm expert witness to examine guns, GSR, and crime scenes
This evidence can be quite specific and distinctions can be made between discharges by different firearms – used either at the same time or in relation to a historical incident. These factors can be used by a firearm forensic expert witness to provide a compelling link between a suspect, a crime scene, and a specific weapon discharge – whether as the shooter or a witness to the offence.
Our firearm expert witness consultants are experienced in all studying all forms of ballistic evidence, tool marking, and firearm devices. Through careful assessment of the evidence, a firearm forensic expert witness is able to accurately reconstruct the events of a shooting – identifying not just the type of firearm used, but the distance to the victim, angle, and the exact sequence of events. We are actively implementing the ‘General Quality Management System’ (GQMS) that has been developed by industry experts and endorsed by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. This will support compliance with ISO 17025 and practice recommendations from the Home Office Forensic Science Regulator
Taking evidence from the crime scene to the court-room; for defence solicitors we provide uncompromising firearm forensic expert witness expertise in peer-reviewing the work of ‘scene of crime officers’ and providing commentary upon the method of investigation, preservation, and the safety of conclusions.