Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0045-0618 / 1834-562X
Published by: Informa UK Limited (10.1080)
Total articles ≅ 1,768
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Latest articles in this journal

, Filippo Gibelli, , Matteo Brunelli, Stefania Turrina, Domenico De Leo
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-10;

Vascular abnormalities of the spleen are infrequently encountered in medical practice and, among these, an aneurysm of the splenic vein is a rare event, being only a few dozen cases reported to date in the literature. The rarity of this clinical condition hinders the understanding of its clinical history, related medical management and potential complications, which are currently unclear. In this article, we report an autopsy case observed in the practice of forensic medicine concerning a 45-year-old woman, anaemic, who died at home a few hours after a previous hospital evaluation for abdominal pain and vaginal spotting. The autopsy revealed a massive secondary hemoperitoneum caused by a laceration of the spleen. On examination of the organ, an aneurysm of the proximal branch of the splenic vein was detected, affected by complete thrombotic occlusion. This case offers a new perspective regarding the clinical evolution of splenic vein aneurysm to death, unprecedented in the current literature.
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-10;

There is a growing interest in the possibility of artificial neural networks’ applications in forensics. Extensive research has been published on this subject, especially in the field of handwriting examination. However, it seldom discusses forensic and legal standards, which are the most fundamental of conditions for the acceptance of artificial neural networks in forensics. From the perspective of handwriting analysis, we have exemplified and systematized general methods for an informal falsification of artificial neural networks applied to verification of offline handwritten documents’ authorship. These approaches should be generally effective against applications of neural networks in forensics, aimed to objectively expose and prove models as unreliable.
, Zuzana Obertova, Ambika Flavel, Kevin Murray, Daniel Franklin
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-16;

It has been empirically demonstrated that the application of anthropological standards, developed using populations geographically or temporally disparate from that of a decedent, negatively impacts on classification accuracy. Therefore, there is a real need for population specific methodologies to ensure that accurate estimations of biological attributes are provisioned the present study reports the first morphometric cranial sexing standards formulated specifically for application in, and based on the statistical analysis of, a broad representation of the contemporary Australian population. The primary aim of the present paper is to quantify cranial sexual dimorphism and to subsequently develop statistically robust cranial sex estimation standards for the complete cranium and/or its associated fragments. The sample analysed comprised computed tomographic (CT) cranial scans of 771 (385 female and 386 male) individuals collected from five Australian states/territories. Scans are visualized as three-dimensional volume rendered reconstructions using OsiriX®, from which 76 three-dimensional cranial landmarks are then acquired. A total of 36 linear inter-landmark measurements are calculated using MorphDB. All cranial measurements were statistically significantly sexually dimorphic in mean values; the three most dimorphic being bizygomatic breadth, bizygotemporal breadth and basion-nasion height. A total of five univariate and nine multivariate discriminant functions were formulated, achieving a maximum of 90.3% classification accuracy according to sex, with an associated sex bias of −4.4%. The findings of the present study indicate that within the Australian population sex can be accurately estimated using cranial measurements. Furthermore, this study is the first to incorporate a collective and inclusive sample of contemporary living Australians thus better informing the accuracy and reliability of casework and forensic practice across the country.
, Abdulrhman M. Dhabbah, , Sultan Ben-Jaber, Waleed A. AlAngari, Meshal Bin Jassas, Yacine Badjah‑Hadj‑Ahmed
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-14;

In the last decade, worldwide illegal production and consumption of methamphetamine (MA) has dramatically increased. MA is chiral and its two enantiomers have different biological properties, the S isomer having higher stimulating and addictive effects and therefore important to determine the enantiomeric ratio in drug seizures. The chiral separation and determination of R and S-MA may be used for characterization of the seized samples and elucidation of the illicit method of preparation. The present article aims to investigate the enantiomeric distribution of R and S methamphetamine in a series of seized samples. The enantioseparation was achieved first by derivatization of MA using L-TPC followed by separation of the resulting diastereomers using GC-MS. The optimized chromatographic method allowed baseline separation of the peaks with a resolution parameter of 2.16. While the total concentration of methamphetamine in the seized samples was between 15.09 and 213.20 mg/g, all investigated samples showed the presence of both R and S enantiomers, with a higher content of S-MA. The enantiomeric excess (ee%) was calculated to characterize each sample, the obtained values were in the range 55.27–92.38%. The results demonstrated that the seized samples originated from different batches and most likely from a stereospecific synthetic route. Graphical Abstract
, Z Shadfar, Jr Allison, Kaj Walsh, Hk Partington
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-19;

The emergence of new psychoactive substances into the global drug market has presented challenges for effective drug legislation and enforcement. One approach to prohibition uses controlled drug analogue legislation, which involves assessing the structural similarity of new substances compared to listed controlled drugs, as opposed to the new substance being specifically listed in legislation itself. An issue arises of there being no clear definition for what constitutes similarity between two substances, and as such, there is level of subjectivity in any decision made. This paper outlines the global and local drug scene in New Zealand, including the emergence of new psychoactive substances, and the legislation that is available for the control of illicit substances in a New Zealand context and the current method for considering new psychoactive substances as potential controlled drug analogues. The authors go on to propose an alternative method to this assessment process, which involves an objective and reproducible similarity scoring mechanism.
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-10;

As part of a digital forensic examination, a practitioner may identify data traces that they believe to be relevant to their inquiry and seek to interpret their meaning, forming a primary investigative hypothesis. In addition, practitioners should also consider whether any traces could mean something else. This work discusses the need for practitioners to consider ‘technically possible’ alternative meanings (TPAMs) as a standard component of their interpretive process. It is proposed that, when considering whether any TPAMs exist in addition to the practitioner’s primary investigative hypothesis regarding a data trace, the practitioner’s position may be expressed in one of six ways – ‘the six categories of TPAM’, based upon the available objective support related to or present within their case, from which the TPAM is derived. These six categories are proposed in order to help a practitioner effectively communicate their reasoning for offering a TPAM in regards to any data trace found during an investigation and are defined and discussed.
, Scott Chadwick, , Simon Baechler, Jennifer Raymond, Marie Morelato
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-11;

The manufacture and distribution of fraudulent identity documents (IDs) is a pervasive and prolific crime problem, enabling the activities of organized crime networks and terrorist cells. As reactive policing methods are ill-equipped to handle the transversal and repetitive nature of document fraud, in 2012 Baechler et al. suggested a complementary method that uses the systematic profiling and comparison of fraudulent IDs to identify those produced by the same source. While this method has been successful in Europe, it is yet to be implemented worldwide, and there is currently little known about the Australian fraudulent document climate. In this pilot study, 43 fraudulent IDs from Sydney-based New South Wales police stations were examined. Adapting the method used in Europe, these documents were imaged, and their visual characteristics were extracted before being organized into an excel database and manually compared. The characteristics chosen are fundamentally linked to the manufacturing process, including the printing methods and replication of security features. Of the documents examined 88% were linked to at least one other document, and five series emerged. These results suggest that the Australian document market may be structured, and that there may be prolific offenders operating at its core, much like in Europe.
Way Koon Teoh, Nabeesathul Sumayya Mohamed Sadiq, Kasrin Saisahas, Apichai Phoncai, Vanitha Kunalan, Noor Zuhartini Md Muslim, Warakorn Limbut, Ahmad Fahmi Lim Abdullah,
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-12;

Drug facilitated crimes (DFCs) involve the incapacitation of a victim due to the administration of a single drug or a combination of drugs. Traditionally, biological samples are collected from a victim and analysed to provide evidence of drug administration. However, the rapid metabolism of many such drugs together with delays in analysis can compromise the detection of such substances. This study investigated the capacity of a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method to detect, simultaneously, four sedative-hypnotic drugs, diazepam, ketamine, nimetazepam, and xylazine, recovered from spiked beverages. A HPLC method was developed and validated and was then applied to the detection of the target substances in simulate forensic case scenarios. The four target substances were well-separated (correlation coefficient, 0.99) while the limit of detection was determined to be 39.1 ng/mL (xylazine), 78.1 ng/mL (diazepam and nimetazepam), and 156.3 ng/mL (ketamine), respectively. Precision (%RSD <7.8%) and accuracy (95.3%–106.6% recovery) were also acceptable and good recoveries were achieved from the drug-spiked samples. In conclusion, a simple and direct HPLC method was successfully developed and applied to the recovery of sedative-hypnotic drugs from spiked beverages.
, Michael Pietrusewsky
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences pp 1-24;

Given their similar morphology and gene-flow histories, determining whether an unidentified cranium found in the Philippines is Japanese or Filipino presents a challenge. Two different analyses are undertaken. First, discriminant function (DF) analyses are applied to 295 crania using 22 measurements for distinguishing between: 1) males and females, 2) Japanese and Filipino males, and 3) Japanese and Filipino females, and 4) among four groups (Japanese males, Filipino males, Japanese females, and Filipino females). Second, a DF equation for distinguishing Japanese males and Filipino males using 173 crania and 29 measurements is introduced. In addition to being able to distinguish between Japanese and Filipino crania, this study found that seldom used cranial measurements such as simonic chord (least nasal breadth -WNB), inferior malar length (IML), and maximum malar length (XML) are influential for distinguishing between these two Asian groups. The predicted classification accuracy of DF equations from both analyses ranged from 82.0% to 93.6%. Sixty test crania for the first study and 40 for the second study maintains classification success rates between 82.0% and 93.3%. The DF equations reported in this study can be a useful initial screening tool for identifying Japanese war dead in the Philippines.
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