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56                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

resembling a thin piece of a leather and leaving a thin new layer of epithe-
lium formed beneath it. This gradually assumes the appearance of the
normal skin, and in favourable cases no scarring persists. If, however, the
hair follicles have been destroyed with the tattoo-mark, there will be some
scarring. This method is also suitable for the removal of blemishes caused
on the face by accidental tattooing.

It may be mentioned that confluent small-pox has been known to obli-
terate tattoo-marks in children, and chronic eczema may also cause the
disappearance of tattoo-marks.


These are helpful in identifying unknown dead bodies, as certain trades
leave marks by which persons engaged in them may be identified. For
example, horny and rough hands are observed among individuals employed
in hard, manual labour. Kahars or dooly-bearers have usually horny, cal-
lous marks on their shoulders. An Indian weighman, who has to weigh
corn by lifting up a balance with heavy scales, gets a callosity, usually on
the hypothenar eminence of his right palm. A depression in the lower part
of the sternum is found among shoemakers due to the constant pressure of
the last against the bone. Tailors have marks of needle punctures on their
left index finger, and a bursa on the lateral malleolus from the attitude of
sitting adopted while sewing. Photographers, dyers and chemists generally
have their fingers stained with dyes or chemicals. The occupation of a
person may, sometimes, be revealed from the microscopic examination of
waxy deposits from his ears and the dust and debris from under his nails,
if these will show the presence of particulate matter of an organic or in-
organic nature which is usually found floating in the atmosphere of factories.

A piece of fibre from a cloth found under the finger nails may sometimes
afford evidence for the detection of a crime. In the case 65 of the State v.
Leatherberry and Fowler tried at the American Courts Martial at Ipswich
on January 19, 1944, the accused were convicted of murdering Claude Hail-
stone, a taxi driver, by throttling, from the evidence of blue fibres found in
the scrapings from under their finger-nails which were similar to those
found on the victim's jacket.


The medical jurist is hardly called upon to give his opinion as regards
the identification of handwriting, since there are experts in this line. How-
ever, according to Lord Brompton, better known as Sir Henry Hawkins,
these handwriting experts are not at all infallible, and their evidence is
usually conflicting and very often fallacious. A learned Judge of the Lahore
High Court has also held that in a charge of forgery, the opinion of a hand-
writing expert should not ordinarily be accepted as conclusive to prove the
facts deposed to by him and a conviction for forgery cannot be sustained
merely on the evidence of an expert.66 Sometimes the medical man may
have to examine a person to see if he is able to write when a plea of mental
incapacity or some paralytic affection is raised. He should, therefore,
remember that mental and nervous diseases, especially those attended with
tremors, as also rheumatic diseases of the joints of the hand, alter the
character of the handwriting by producing more or less irregularity in the
formation of letters.

65.   Francis Edward Camps, Medico-Leg. Jour., Vol. XVII, Part I, 1949, r>. 2.

66.   King-Emperor v. Prabhu Da.ydi, 33 -Crim. Lww Jour., Sept. 1932, p, "593.