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An Integrated Technique for the Analysis of Skin Bite Marks

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The high number of murder, rape, and child abuse cases in South Africa has led to increased numbers of bite mark cases being heard in high courts. Objective analysis to match perpetrators to bite marks at crime scenes must be able to withstand vigorous cross-examination to be of value in conviction of perpetrators. An analysis technique is described in four stages, namely determination of the mark to be a human bite mark, pattern association analysis, metric analysis and comparison with the population data, and illustrated by a real case study. New and accepted techniques are combined to determine the likelihood ratio of guilt expressed as one of a range of conclusions described in the paper. Each stage of the analysis adds to the confirmation (or rejection) of concordance between the dental features present on the victim and the dentition of the suspect. The results illustrate identification to a high degree of certainty.
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Keywords: bite marks; court cases; forensic odontology; forensic science

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Oral Pathology and Oral Biology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. 2: Department of Statistics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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