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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

44                                                MEDICAL  JURISPRUDENCE

In addition to the above, there were other marks of resemblance, viz, photographs,
the boil-mark on the head, the boil-mark on the back, the operation mark near the
groin, the tiger-claw mark on the right arm, a minute mole on the dorstim of the penis,
the gait, voice and expression.41

The teeth afford a useful means of identification, especially in the case
of bodies which have been destroyed by injury, fire or decomposition. They
are more resistant to destructive agents than any other structure, and are
well protected. The teeth may be artificial or natural or a few may be
missing, carious or worn-out or may have been set irregularly or coloured".

A case occurred at the Cumberland Assizes held at Carlisle in which two colliers
were charged with breaking into the Co-operative Society's Store and stealing some
valuable articles. On examination of the premises it was found that someone had bitten
a piece off a cheese and had left the marks of his teeth. On suspicion two men were
arrested and one of them unwittingly permitted a cast of his teeth to be made, which
was found to- fit exactly into the marks on the cheese. A dentist stated in his evidence
as an expert that no two sets of teeth were identical. This accused was very anxious
that his mouth should be examined to see if his teeth would fit the impression on the
cheese. When this was done, the very damning evidence was ascertained that since
his arrest, he had knocked out a stump.42

In December 1918, a Mahomedan prostitute was sent to me for examination by a
Bench Magistrate. She had superficial lacerations in the form of a circle on her right
cheek as a result of teeth-bite, but in the upper half of the circle there was a blank
space which coincided with the missing right upper central incisor tooth of the accused.

In connection with a burglary in a jeweller's shop in Lucknow the police arrested
a goldsmith who was found in possession of several diamond crystals. When the crystals
were identified by the proprietor of the jeweller's shop the goldsmith confessed that
he got the crystals from a Smdhi merchant who had one gold tooth which gleamed
whenever the man smiled but was not visible otherwise. Later, in a restaurant in
Arninabad, the proprietor of the Dweller's shop came across a man who answered to
the general description of the suspect given. The difficulty was about the gold tooth,
for when the man spoke it was not visible. The proprietor was wondering whether
he should send for the police when someone in the restaurant cracked a joke in Sindhi.
The suspect laughed at the joke revealing the gold tooth. His doubts being at rest,
the proprietor of the jeweller's shop immediately sent for the police and had the man

The record which a dentist keeps of the condition of his patient's teeth
or the cast which he takes of his patient's jaw for fitting artificial teeth may
sometimes be very valuable for purposes of identification.

A diplomatic official in Chile complained of threatening' letters, and one night the
embassy was burned down and his charred body was found in the ruins and buried with
great public lamentation and eulogy. The Director of the Chilean Dental School had
his doubts and examined the corpse an hour before burial. The next day he announced
that the deceased was not the missing official; within a few days the latter was arrested
on the frontier with the whole negotiable wealth of the embassy. The body was that
of the night porter, who had never been to the dentist; although the murderer had
been to particular pains to mutilate the teeth, they were easily distinguishable from his
own described in his dentist's records.44

5.   HAIR

This forms an important means in establishing identity, as it resists
putrefaction. The hair of the Indians is generally dark and fine. That of
the Chinese and Japanese is dark and coarse, while that of the Negroes
is curly and wooly. It has been observed by Tidy that hair grows even after

i death, but this growth is only apparent probably from the shrinking of the

* skin which takes place after death.

Change in Colour.—To disguise identity hair may be artificially coloured
with henna, darkened by dyes and cosmetics containing metallic salts of

41.    Mitra and Chakrawarthy, The Bhcwal Case, 1936

42.    Brit. Med. Jour., Feb. 10, 1906, p. 343.

43.    Pioneer, Dec. 2, 1933.

44.    Alexander Klein, Schmeiz, Montas f. Zahnnh, 1929, XXXIX ; Lancet, May 17, 1930,