Interpreting Evidence

This is a book on the interpretation of evidence aimed at lawyers and forensic scientists:

Bernard Robertson and G A Vignaux,
Interpreting Evidence: Evaluating Forensic Science in the Courtroom,
John Wiley and Sons, 1995, 240+xxi pp. ISBN 0471960268.

This book:


  1. Introduction -- Two Principles. Bertillonage or anthropometry. Requirements for forensic scientific evidence and its reliability.
  2. Interpreting Scientific Evidence -- Relevance and probative value. The likelihood ratio and Bayes's Rule. Admissibility and relevance, Case studies.
  3. The Alternative hypothesis -- Which alternative hypothesis? Exclusive, exhaustive and multiple hypotheses. Immigration and paternity cases. The "It was my brother" defence. Marks at the scene and marks on the suspect. Hypothetical questions. Pre-trial conferences and defence notice. Case studies.
  4. Explaining the strength of Evidence -- explaining the likelihood ratio. Words instead of numbers? Problems with the likelihood ratio. The ultimate issue rule.
  5. The Case as a Whole -- Combining evidence. Combinations of uncertain evidence. Issues in the case. The standard of proof and the cost of errors. Assessing priors. the defence hypothesis and the prior odds. Case studies.
  6. Errors of Thinking -- A brace of lawyers' fallacies. Double-counting evidence? the accuracy and reliability of scientific evidence. Case studies.
  7. Classical Statistics and Database Matching --
  8. Transfer evidence --
  9. Blood and DNA Evidence --
  10. Other Scientific Evidence --
  11. Implications for the Legal System -- What is expert evidence? Who is an expert? What is a science? The Frye Test. The end of the Frye test -- Daubert v Merrell Dow
  12. Conclusion --
  13. Appendix: Probability, Odds and Bayes' Rule --