Assessment of Forensic Medical Expert’s Involvement in Primary Crime Scene Investigation in Nairobi
It is of great importance to include Forensic Medical Experts (FMEs) in Primary Crime Scene (PCS) investigation team especially in murder, rape and defilement in investigation framework. The criminal justice system in Kenya has not been effective due to the shortage of FMEs as well as the poor specialization among forensic experts and police officers in implementing Medico-legal services within the country. This research sought to assess the need to involve FMEs in PCS investigation in Starehe sub-county, which comprises of five stations, for the purpose of improving the quality of criminal investigation in the country. A systematic random sampling technique of case files brought back from court was used. The sample size was calculated by dividing the entire case files by interval. There were one hundred and thirty-five (135) case files numbered from one to one hundred and thirty-five (135), then picked at an interval of two from a random number. Sixty-seven (67) case files were sampled, studied and analyzed. Three hypotheses were developed to be tested. The main objective was to assess forensic medical expert’s involvement in PCS investigation in starehe police division, Nairobi County, Kenya. Data analysis was done using SPSS and presented with tables, and narrative. From the tested hypothesis we were able to discover that the FMEs in Kenya are not well trained and professional in the use of SOPs for collecting forensic evidence at PCS H1 (p=0.754); the Kenyan criminal justice system framework does not involve FMEs at all primary stages of investigations H2 (p=0.878); Cases in Kenyan courts are not very successful without the use of FMEs H3 (p=0.247). Involvement of the FMEs in primary crime scenes investigation ensures that there is adequate and sufficient evidence to prosecute criminals convicted of such criminal acts. Cases without forensic evidence component failed to secure a conviction indicating that their absence impacts the quality of evidence submitted to present a sound case to prosecute offenders. FMEs should respond alongside police crime scene investigators and be linked to crime scenes at all stages of investigation to collect forensic evidence to identify suspects responsible for committing criminal activities at the PCS. Forensic evidence should be presented by a qualified professional who complies with standards that enhance efficiency and fairness. The forensic medical evidence at the primary crime scene is best armed with skills, knowledge and tools that are required to aid the investigators to make maximum use of scanty resources available with regard to collection and analysis of biological and chemical evidence. There should be clearer guidelines on the steps to follow in regard to evidence collection. The results of this study will be used by policy makers and health care providers to improve forensic evidence gathering for better and successful prosecution.
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