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How key information crucially affected the outcome in a footwear mark case

July 01 2016

Forensic Science Interpreting The Evidence

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Footwear Marks

On a recent visit to a laboratory, footwear mark expert, Alan Henderson, was called upon to check two footwear marks the prosecution expert had ‘matched’ to the client’s shoe. All was well with one mark, but the other didn’t quite align properly, so the KBC expert looked beyond the marks to the labelling of the items for explanations for the potential differences.

It transpired from these labels that the marks were the heel and toe areas of the same single footwear mark which the CSI had lifted in two parts. Once re-combined the ‘size’ differences were more obvious and Alan concluded that the client’s shoe was different to that which made the mark. Following our visit, the prosecution expert re-visited the case and also concluded that the client’s shoe could not have made the single mark, subsequently issuing a further statement detailing their change of mind.

This example demonstrates one of the potential complexities of footwear comparison cases and why it can be useful to have such evidence checked. Even the best expert is only as good as the information they use.

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