The legal impact of forensic medical life-threatening danger assessment conclusions in cases of violent offense

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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the association between the legal outcome for suspected perpetrators and the forensic life-threatening danger assessments conducted as part of the clinical forensic medical examinations of victims with penetrating injuries.

METHOD: From the Danish Central Crime Register, we retrieved the legal outcomes for suspected perpetrators linked to victims with penetrating injuries in a six-year period and compared the proportional distribution of forensic life-threatening danger assessment conclusions - no life-threatening danger (NLD), could have been in life-threatening danger (CLD), and life-threatening danger (LD) - with the legal outcomes.

RESULTS: 326 victims were related to at least one identified suspected perpetrator with a legal outcome. When the forensic life-threatening danger assessments were more severe, an increased proportion of cases resulted in formal charges and, subsequently, conviction, than when the forensic life-threatening danger assessments were less severe. The percentage point differences between NLD, CLD, and LD were almost equal.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that the forensic life-threatening danger assessments are associated with the legal outcome, as both the proportion of cases with formal charges and the proportion of cases with a conviction increased with the severity of the forensic life-threatening danger assessment conclusions.

TidsskriftForensic Science International
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - 2021

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Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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