Many people may have seen 3rd Degree on Wednesday night about the marks on Robin Bain’s thumb and forefinger as recorded in two crime scene photographs. Earlier this year I spent a morning with Police and ESR staff and some of the defence team during the testing of the murder weapon by Robbie Tiffen and Richard Munt; my thumb is shown in three of the images that appeared in the NZHerald yesterday.
As this matter is still in progress there is not too much that I am able to say about it. However, I note from the Herald Online this evening the following photographs. The one on the left is Robin Bain’s hand at the scene; the one on the right is apparently his digit print taken during the autopsy:
Many people will use the above two images to draw conclusions. I would advise caution in this regard:
1. The orientation of the print taken at autopsy (at right) is not the same orientation as the hand at the scene (at left).
2. There is an absence of information in the Herald article regarding the print so the assumption will generally be made that the print from autopsy is presented the correct way round but this has not been confirmed: N.B. when prints are taken, they are a mirror image of how they appear on the digit’s actual surface.
3. Prints collected at autopsy are not always as good in terms of detail as they would have been when the subject was alive.