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  Likelihood guidance

Crown Prosecution Service seeks to limit the scope of a Court of Appeal decision on likelihood ratios

Issue 70 of this e-wire considered the case of R -v- T in which the Court of Appeal looked at likelihood ratios. It concluded that justice is not served by dressing up an expert’s guesses as pseudo-science. This case led the court to be critical of the reliance placed on an insufficiently large database, the Forensic Science Services’ Footwear Database (FD). Since the judgment in R -v- T, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has published some troubling guidance on this matter.

The CPS, pointing out rightly that the ‘ruling only applies to evidence based on the Footmark Database’, goes on to assert that the ‘principles should not, at this stage, be applied to other database analysis’. This is very worrying.

Of course, the specific criticism of the FD relates just to that database. But the criticism has a general nature as well as a specific one. Any database that is too small to support the kind of statistical manipulation that was used on the FD should be caught by the principles set out in the R -v- T judgment, and the CPS should have the wit to acknowledge this general application.

The guidance can be found by searching Google for Footwear Database Bayesian statistics.



Issue 72
November 2011

LSC expert fees cap under fire - urgent donations sought
Shaken Baby guidance
Likelihood guidance

Current issue
June 2018

Is your spare room filling up?
Document retention policy
What is a reasonable time for document retention?
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