To Be Taken at Face Value? Computerised Identification
Information & Communication Technology Law, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 63-73, 2002
11 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2010
Date Written: 2002
Scientifc evidence such as fingerprints and blood, hair and DNA samples are often presented during legal proceedings. Without such evidence, a description provided by the victim or any eyewitnesses is often the only means to identify a suspect. With the advent of closed circuit television (CCTV), many crimes are now recorded by cameras in the public or private domain, leading to a new form of forensic identification — facial biometrics. Decisions on how to view and interpret biometric evidence are important for both prosecution and defence, not least for the judge and jury who must decide the case. A jury may accept eyewitnesses as reliable sources of evidence more readily than complicated forensic or scientific evidence. False eyewitness accounts appear reliable when confidently presented to a mock jury. The decision-making process of the judge and jury may be seriously flawed if an eyewitness has made a genuine mistake. Using computerised recognition, the judicial decision of whether to accept an alibi or whether to accept the eyewitness account may be helped by removing the inherent uncertainty of human recognition.
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