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Usage of digital photographs in forensic work in Sri Lanka

Authors:

D. R. Nadeera ,

District General Hospital, Ampara, LK
About D. R.
Judicial Medical Office
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P. A. S. Edirisinghe,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About P. A. S.
Faculty of Medicine

Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama
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I. D. G. Kitulwatte

University of Kelaniya, LK
About I. D. G.
Faculty of Medicine

Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama
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Abstract

Forensic photography refers making of images to record objects, scenes and events to be used in the legal process.  With popularization of digital cameras, forensic photography is being increasingly used as a tool in record keeping as well as evidence.  The objective of this study was to evaluate available facilities and current practice of using digital photographs in forensic work by medico-legal doctors in Sri Lanka.  A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire among doctors engaged in forensic work in Sri Lanka.  The study was conducted as an on-line survey from October 2018. Out of 102 doctors who participated in the survey, 51% (n=52) used camera-phones instead of DSLR cameras to take forensic photographs, although 72% (73) had a DSLR camera in the institution.  The majority (96%) used a measuring scale in their photographs, but only 43% used a colour scale.  66% took more than two photographs for a single injury but only 26% used an external light source.  80% took photographs in all magisterial autopsies but only 48% incorporated them in their reports. Majority (74%) knew that forensic photographs are admissible in courts.  Basic technical knowledge of functions of a camera was poor in a majority (85%) of doctors. Although basic technical knowledge of photography was poor in doctors engaged in medicolegal practice, many use photographs to compliment autopsy reports. Since comprehension of events using visual images is better than verbal descriptions, improving the quality of photographs submitted to courts should be the way forward. Therefore, forensic photography training should be encouraged.
How to Cite: Nadeera, D.R., Edirisinghe, P.A.S. and Kitulwatte, I.D.G., 2018. Usage of digital photographs in forensic work in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 9(2), pp.21–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v9i2.7810
Published on 31 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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