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Forensic Palynology: assessing the weight of the evidence

by admin last modified 2005-10-01 04:12 AM

Horrocks M, Walsh KAJ. 2001. In: Goodman DK, Clarke RT. (eds) Proceedings of the IX International Palynological Congress, American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists Foundation. Pp. 613-615.


The main forensic application of palynology is in determining the possibility of associative evidence. Forensic palynologists should assess the significance of their evidence to assist the court in determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant. They also need to present this assessment in language which can be readily understood by judges and juries. The purpose of this paper is to establish a framework for making such assessments using the likelihood ratio (LR). The LR forms part of the assessment of forensic evidence using Bayes’ Theorem and considers the quality of the pollen “match” and how common the pollen assemblage is. A pollen case is used as an example. A more detailed version of this approach will appear in the Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Special Issue: New Frontiers of Palynology.

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