Forensic science has become an important tool in law enforcement. In some cases, it has helped convict suspects, while in others the tests have exonerated suspects or overturned previous convictions.

A forensic investigator who has a specialty in Fire investigation, Document and fingerprint analysis, Avril Eyewu-Edero, in an interview with TheNigerialawyer shared her experiences on how she carried out an investigation and build up cases using science. She also talked about the challenges she has encountered in the course of doing the works.

Avril Eyewu-Edero, obtained a BSc in Forensic science with psychology from the London Southbank University, Uk, and a master’s in Forensic Psychology and criminal investigation from the University of Liverpool, Uk and she has been in practice as a forensic investigator for 9 years.

Excerpt 

We understand that you are the founder of EEA could you tell us what it’s all about?

EEA Forensics is a forensic consulting and training firm that assists public and private firms with investigation using forensics to build up their cases. We carry out forensic analysis as well and also conduct various training and forensic masterclasses

You stated that you have through your EEA carried out private forensic services, can you give an example and how you were able to achieve your goal.

One of the most popular analysis we carry out is document analysis for issues with wills. So if there is a dispute with the signature on the will, we are consulted for our scientific opinion, this is presented in court. We also handle a lot of fire investigation to ascertain if it is arson or accident, this helps for insurance claims, etc

Why do you choose forensic as a career?

I have been passionate about forensics since I was 8 years old watching FBI files and I’m quite inquisitive, so this made me realize I had a clear career path

What are the challenges you have faced as a forensic expert?.

One of the major challenges contamination of evidence the crime scene, many times we get a call to lift prints after a theft, for example, we get there and scene is heavily contaminated. I believe it is the lack of awareness that is the problem. Also, the lack of awareness about forensics and its usefulness in the criminal justice system. Some people in the judiciary don’t have enough exposure of forensic science so there’s a struggle with its admissibility in court.

What purpose does forensic psychology do other than criminal investigation?.

Forensic psychology is broad it is usefulness, apart from its usefulness in the investigation and criminal profiling, it helps with assisting the court with decisions such as bail and sentencing, the psychological state and evaluation of the defendant and if they can stand trial or not. So, the forensic psychologist is an advisor for the court pre and post trial.

What does a forensic physiologist do at a crime scene?

we don’t have any known branch of forensic that is physiology. However, if it is psychologist, a forensic psychologist can analyse the crime scene to develop a profile of a suspect that is unknown mostly from the way the crime was perpetrated and the state the offender left the crime scene, it will give an insight into the mind of the offender and the possible motive for the crime.

Any anticipated changes in this knowledge, field or techniques? Forensic science has continued to evolve with advancement of technology especially in the area of DNA analysis. Sadly we are still far behind in Nigeria. But in the nearest future forensics would make investigations easier, in other climes, a lot of cold cases are getting solved with advancement of forensic science.

Has the focus of forensic evidence to solve a crime caused law enforcement to forget or ignore more traditional methods of crime-solving?

They hardly use forensic science. In other climes, forensic science is a part of the investigation process, but deals with analysis of crime scene evidence. The police have to still do their job of investigating crimes, forensics just gets them 10 steps ahead.

As a leading expert, what is your advice to the upcoming experts in the field?

I wouldn’t classify myself as a leading expert just yet (Laugh). For now, I am working hard to bring forensic science to the forefront of the criminal justice system of Nigeria. I will encourage more people to acquire the knowledge and the police and government to adopt the use. This would make things much easier for the judiciary and we wouldn’t have cases in court for years.

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