Prints, Profiles and Templates: Adducing Biometric Evidence in Australian Courts

Marcus Smith, Gregor Urbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses how Australian courts have responded to the use of biometric identification in criminal trials. While fingerprint and DNA evidence has been admitted as forensic evidence to assist with human identification for decades; facial recognition is a more recent development, and is likely to become an important biometric identifier. The article begins by discussing general principles relevant to adducing biometric evidence, followed by a more detailed analysis of Australian case law on fingerprint identification, DNA identification and facial and body mapping. While an overall trend towards the acceptance of biometric identification evidence can be observed, criticism from the judiciary, academia and government reviews will be considered. The discussion examines standards for establishing whether biometric identification technology has achieved the level of scientific reliability necessary for legal admissibility, arguing that there is a need for a more rigorous and consistent approach to biometric identification evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-681
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Law Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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