Forgery can be defined as the false reproduction or alteration of documents with the intention of cheating. This may include the alteration of other peoples’ work without their authority or to execute writing so that it claims to be the work of another person who actually did not authorize it. In other words, forgery can basically be said to be using other people’s ideas to benefit oneself without their consent (Bertino & Bertino, 2008). Notably, document examination as a way of detecting forged documents and as a scientific field of study was established in the 20th century. However, it came due to the need of the courts to be in a position to get the correct information about the forged documents in order to evaluate them correctly.
With respect to forensic science a document can generally be defined as anything that bears signs and symbols arranged in a certain pattern that can communicate a message to a person. Additionally, any type of document can be investigated provided alterations have been made on it without the owners consent. In the same line of thought, there are many techniques that can be used by examiners to detect any form of forgery (Bertino & Bertino, 2008). Some of these techniques include script and autographs recognition, indentifying a document as forged, typewriters and photocopies detection, alterations or additions identification, decoded adjustments and assessment of inks used in writing.
Exemplars are lawfully permissible reliable samples of handwriting used in the comparison of forged writing. Reasonably, exemplars are used by examiners’ in order to come up with a judgment concerning the legitimacy of the handwriting in argument. In forensic science, the handwriting exemplars, writings of a known writer, are compared with the document in question in order to come up with verifying information concerning the dispute (Koppenhaver, 2007, p. 83). So to speak, there is a procedure that should be followed in order to detect whether a document is forge or not. In other words, there are specific guidelines that investigators use to come up with the final word concerning the crime of document forgery.
Notably, disputed document detection highly depends on the eminence of the acknowledged writing. In the process of comparing handwritings an investigator is suppose to assist the forensic examiner in the comparison of the documents. As a matter of fact, the document in question and the well-known specimens must be in a comparable state in order to come up with a justifiable conclusion (Nickell, 2005). For example, “s” and “s” can be compared but one cannot compare different letters like “z” and “m”. This is because if different letters are compared the process of examining the documents will be cumbersome and may not yield quality results.
Apart from this, the investigator is also supposed to estimate the subjected writing state of affairs. This is to say that samples should appear in the form in which the questioned document is. For example, if the questioned document is on a plain paper then the specimen should also be on a plain paper. Besides this, the investigator should also photocopy the phrasing, the writing equipment as well as the writing size space on the document being investigated in a very close way. The reason for this is to allow a very thorough comparison of the documents involved in order to avoid any biasness in judgment (Ames, 2009).
Finally, the examiner should make sure that the specimens known are sufficient and the subject should not be allowed to copy the writing in question. More to this point, the investigator should as well obtain adequate dictated known scripts for the manuscript in order for the examiner to study the ordinary dissimilarities in the questioned writing. In the examination process all spelling error and punctuations of the subjects should be obtained for comparison purposes (Koppenhaver, 2007). Nevertheless, it is also advisable to get spontaneous out-of-date documents that herald with the subjected document date. The first thing the examiner should know while comparing hand writings is that everybody has a distinctive way of writing. Besides this, the examiner should also be able to differentiate individual and technique characteristics which may require a lot of learning.
Nonetheless, the most important thing is the individual characteristic since it can easily indentify the authorship. Before the examiner begins to analyze the documents he/she should get a good number of samples for the comparison to be thorough. More to this point, the examiners always start with the differences between the documents being compared after reading reading and comprehending the documents at hand (Nickell, 2005). This is because the differences can easily tell if the documents were written by the same writer or different writers. Moreover, if sufficient differences are detected in individual characteristics and are not a result of simulation then the documents belong to different authors.
Outstandingly, the commonly used form of comparison is the one whereby the examiner builds a pattern with words in the documents being compared beginning from the first word. In this case, the examiner is able to compare the individual characteristics of the characters one after the other and is able to tell if any forgery process is involved (Ames, 2009). Along with this, an examiner is able to detect altered words by looking at the letter forms which includes the size of the letters used which differs from one person to another.
On the other hand, the examiner can as well check the line forms of the documents which signify the swiftness and force used by the writer in the process. Finally, the examiner can also check the formatting styles like the font size, spacing and even the arrangement of words in the documents (Koppenhaver, 2007, p. 213). By looking at this, the analyst can be able to come up with a conclusion which will tell if any forgery has been detected.