Crime scene reconstruction is the evaluation of the case as a whole. It involves hypothetical recreation of what occurred during the incident. It is a disciplined and principled approach towards objectively understanding a crime scene.
Crime scene reconstruction helps interpret physical evidence. It is an aid to help formulate a hypothesis and arrive at a conclusion about a certain crime. Forensic specialists all come together with their different forms of evidence such as photos, sketches, and other useful things gathered from the crime scene to paint a vivid picture. This process makes it possible to retrace a crime that took place.
Some scenes are better reconstructed: Some scenes lend themselves to reconstruction better than others. Traffic accidents are common scenes to reconstruct and often can be thoroughly reconstructed. Vehicles obey the laws of motion and often leave a wealth of physical evidence behind before, during and after an accident. It may be possible to show the entire sequence of events from the time, the vehicles first enter the area of the accident, until they come to rest following the accident. Scenes involving the movement of people are more difficult. It may be possible to say where a person was in the scene at several points in time; but the manner in which he moved at the crime scene cannot be reconstructed. People may move slowly, quickly, hesitantly, jump up and down, run, skip, and fall down, etc. all without leaving any particular trace behind. There are of course the odd cases where the amount and type of physical evidence does allow the paths of the participants to be tracked with some accuracy. However, the vagaries of facial expression, gestures, and body language are simply impossible to reconstruct at all.1)
At shooting scenes, the crime scene team will identify, reconstruct and document projectile paths, called trajectories, based on impact marks including penetrating, perforating, or non-penetrating points of impact. The examination of defects and holes caused by projectiles from firearms can provide information useful in the reconstruction of a shooting incident. In some circumstances, the trajectory of the projectile may be determined. This can assist in determining possible positions from where a shot originated.
Sunil Sharma is an advocate; editor and compiler of legal commentaries, having authored more than 40 books.