Current and Future Evidence in Personal Injury Ascertainment Under Criminal Law

  • Reinhard Dettmeyer


The forensic medical examination of victims of violence for the purposes of gathering evidence for use in criminal proceedings requires a prompt physical examination of the victim, a precise description and, where possible, photodocumentation of injuries, as well as their correct medico-legal interpretation according to the incident. Such examinations, documentation, and appraisals are required to meet minimum standards, which may be subject to modification in the case of suspected child abuse and for the purposes of examining victims of sexual violence. It is also essential to ensure that the examiner or expert possesses material autonomy, as well as administrative and organizational independence. An independent expert should not belong to the police force, the public prosecutor’s office, or the court in any organizational capacity. Statutory provisions need to exclude the possibility of influencing an expert “through official channels”, while at the same time his financial independence should be such that attempts at corruption are at least unlikely. The independence of the expert is of particular importance in cases where individuals have been the victim of violence in official custody, most notably in police custody, in prisons, and following involuntary detention in a psychiatric institution.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Forensic Medicine, Justus-Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany

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