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Introduction to criminal human dismemberment

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Published
  • Sue Black
  • Guy Rutty
  • Sarah Hainsworth
  • Grant Thomson
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Abstract

The well-known saying ‘The dead do tell no tales’ probably received one of its earliest airings in the tragedy Andronicus Commenius written by John Wilson in 1664. In the days before forensic investigation, the concept of death as the permanent concealer and silencer of secrets may well have held some truth. However, science has since learned to read the narrative of the dead and relay those self-same secrets most convincingly to those within our judicial system who must determine the guilt or innocence of the person accused. Effective translation of evidence, through the filter of science, as it relates to the life, dying and death of the victim, assists those whose ultimate aim is to uphold justice and those who mete out punishment against the transgressors of our laws. Nowhere is the solemnity and seriousness of this practice more focussed than in judgement over the crime of homicide.