Submission of Documentary Evidence

Introduction

The Worldwide Forensic Services Inc. (WWFS) accepts documentary evidence for examination from any government or private agency, from across Canada and Internationally.

Some of the Forensic Document Examination Areas Are:

Handwriting Analysis

The questioned handwriting, hand printing, signatures, numerals or initials can be examined and compared with the corresponding  known exemplars to determine if they are written by the same person or not. Please note that normally a signature can be compared with signatures (unless an individual has signed like name writing), handwriting can be compared with handwriting of corresponding style (cursive with cursive, printed with printed, and uppercase with uppercase). Also the comparison known/specimen handwriting should have the letters and letter combinations present in the questioned handwriting.

Photocopies, computer printouts or other machine generated documents

The machine generated documents can be examined to determine their origin or to determine if they have been tempered with or fabricated in any manner e.g. a fabricated photocopy prepared by transplanting a signature from another document by cut-and-paste method or with the help of  computer.

The typed matter or computer printouts can be examined and compared with the known samples to determine if a particular machine was used to produce the questioned document.

Inks

Inks can be physically or chemically examined to determine if the same ink or different inks were used to write a questioned document. The obliterated matter or faded inks can often be made legible with Video-spectral Comparator, scanning techniques, software enhancement or forensic filters. The Worldwide Forensic Services Inc. does not offer ink dating service at the present time.

Paper

Paper can be examined and compared with the other pages of a document or the known samples to determine if the document/ page in question is similar to the other papers. Torn documents can be reconstructed, and sometimes paper can be dated or linked to a particular manufacturer.

Alterations

The erasing, overwriting, alterations and indentations can often be detected with the help of different devices and light sources.

Evidence Submittal Procedure

The evidence is accepted either in person at our laboratory (by appointment only), via courier or certified mail. The evidence is returned in person or via courier. The evidence can include a cover letter or an Evidence Submission Form.

Evidence Handling Guidelines

  • Original documents are always preferable over the photocopies. If it not possible to obtain originals, submit best available photocopies
  • The documents should not be staples, marked, unnecessarily touched, folded, torn, stamped of subjected to indented writings/ impressions
  • The document itself should not be marked. It should be placed in an envelope that has been identified on the outside with pertinent data
  • The photocopies, facsimiles or photographs should not be placed in plastic envelopes. The toner of printed areas may transfer and adhere to the plastic surface
  • The documents should not be exposed to excessive humidity, excessive heat and prolonged direct sunlight
  • Collect and submit sufficient number of known signatures/ handwriting samples. Try best to collect the known matter within the same timeframe as the questioned matter
  • Submit your evidence via hand delivery or safe carrier.

Comparison Specimens

The level of certainty of the conclusions of a forensic document examiner mainly depends upon the quality of the questioned matter and the availability of the comparison specimens. Please click here to see an opinion scale.

We often receive phone calls saying that there is a signature in question and only one known signatures is available for comparison, or there are two signatures which need to be compared to each other to find out as to which one is real and which one is forged. The callers, influenced by the CSI Effectfail to understand the importance of proper comparison specimens and may get disappointed from our inability to perform such analysis.

The submission of insufficient or inappropriate comparison specimens (also referred to as the known signatures/ handwriting, sample signatures/handwriting, exemplars) is a common problem. The clients need to understand that the forensic document examiners perform analysis in the real world and they need proper comparison specimens to evaluate the writings characteristics of an individual to reach to a conclusion.

There are two types of comparison specimens:

  1. Collected Specimens
  2. Requested Specimens

Collected Specimens

Collected specimens are the signatures or handwriting, written by an individual in his/her daily routine. Sufficient numbers of collected specimens written during similar writing conditions are likely to have sufficient data for comparison purposes.

While collecting specimens, consider the following:

Time Period

It is better to collect the comparison specimens contemporaneous to the date or the document in question. Signatures or handwriting of an individual may show marked changes with passage of time, and the comparison specimens of remote dates may prove to be unsuitable for proper comparison of the writing details.

Old Age and Illness

Old age and/or illness may affect the signatures and handwriting of an individual to a considerable extent. If the questioned signature or handwriting have been influenced by such conditions, it becomes necessary to look for the comparison specimens written under similar conditions.

Writing Conditions

Sometimes the questioned matter is written while standing or having uneasy posture.

Comparison specimens written during similar writings conditions may prove useful in the comparison process.

Writing Instrument

Normally the signatures or handwriting written with ball-point pen, fountain pen, gel pen or pencil do not show marked variations due to change in the writing instrument, however  it is better to have the comparison specimens written with similar type of writing instrument. The writings written with broad tipped writing instruments, such as felt tip marker, tend to show some prominent variations and it may become necessary to have comparison specimens written with similar type of writing instrument.

Sources of Collected Comparison Specimens

The following list of documents may be helpful to collect the comparison specimens:

Affidavits

Greeting cards

Post Cards

Agreements

Guest lists

Purchase invoices

Bank Deposit Slips

Identification Cards

Real Estate Listings

Bank Signature card

Insurance forms

Recipes

Cancelled Cheques

Job applications

Registration forms

College or University Applications

Letters

Rental Agreements

Correspondence

Loan applications

Rental receipts

Court Documents

Marriage Certificate

Reports

Credit Card Receipts

Membership Cards

Requisitions

Deposit/withdrawal slips

Message pads

Tax forms

Diaries

Mortgage Documents

Telephone and address books

Discharge Papers

Notebooks

Time Sheets

Driver’s Licence

Notes

Welfare Records

Employment Records

Passports

Wills