Written by Sian Hall
December 9th, 2017

Digby Johnson is currently helping with a Nottingham Trent University research project into the law of evidence and the identification of the human voice.

In many cases a witness or victim will be called upon to describe a voice they overheard in the course of the commission of an offence or, perhaps someone talking about the planning of or the recent execution of such an offence. At the moment there are very few yardsticks to help measure that voice in a reasoned and logical way.

Since 2003 there has been provision for voice identification parades to take place, although as yet few, if any, have been successfully presented to a court in evidential form.

The current Trent project aims to develop questionnaires to assist witnesses in describing a voice. Further developments may include the provision of voice samples to witnesses to enable them to come up with the audible equivalent of an identikit picture.

Who knows, eventually, clips from previously taped interviews may be sampled into a databank similar to the current identification parade database to enable comparative samples to be put together to test whether a witness or victim is actually able to pick out the voice of someone in custody or a particular suspect.

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