Forensic Handwriting Analysis

By Avril Eyewu-Edero

Do you know it’s possible to identify a person through their handwriting?

This is one of the interesting aspects of forensic science.

We write in our unconscious state and when a document is forged, it tends to be forged in a conscious state, this is when forensic analysis becomes useful.

Forensic document examiners analyse the different characteristics of known handwriting of a person by examining the motions, special features, strokes, pattern, writing pressure, spatial relationships and shape of the different letters to a suspected forged document.

The goal of handwriting analysis like all other forensic applications is to check for comparison.

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In a case I handled years ago, I had to ascertain the signature on a will to find out if it was signed by the deceased person. There was a contention by the deceased person’s wife that her late husband’s relative changed the will to favor them.

Because the person was deceased, I collected about five documents written by him called the known or reference sample and compared it with the questioned sample, the will.

In the end, we were able to ascertain that the signature on the will was recent and not did not match the known signature of the deceased, as specific characteristics of the deceased’s handwriting were missing and both signatures didn’t align. This brought the authenticity of the will into disrepute.

Forensic document analysis is useful for several purposes involving document authentication such as wills, educational certificates, cheques, etc

Handwriting is distinctive to an individual making handwriting just as unique as fingerprints.

When a person forges a document, the handwriting analyst looks at present factors such as evidence of pen lifts, shaky lines and dark and thick starts and finishes for words.

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These are prominent factors usually present when someone is forming words carefully instead of the natural flow.

It’s important to note that just like the basic principle of forensics which states that every contact leaves a trace, it applies to handwrite analysis.

You can check this out by looking at your handwriting in various documents to check for comparisons and differences.



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