Examination of Photocopies

A frequent question raised in casework is whether or not photocopies have been produced from a single source or from a particular machine or whether they are true reproductions of an original.

Are Copies from a Common Source"?

There are a variety of defects that may appear on photocopies due to:

  • Excessive toner or extraneous toner being deposited on the resultant copies which is often associated with the cleanliness and service record of the machine.
  • Marks on the photocopy glass, mirrors etc.
  • Marks deposited by rollers and guiding mechanisms.
  • Marks produced by a machine's "finger pickers" which assist in separating documents and guiding documents through the mechanism etc.

These can be highly individualistic and may be either permanent or transitory in nature.

The observation of matching defects, especially extraneous toner marks, may result in a firm opinion being offered that documents have originated from a single machine.

The changing nature of these defects when observed relative to a selection of documents of known date and from the same machine may assist in identifying the true date of production of a particular photocopy.

Photocopy Manipulation

A further problem is that the presentation of a photocopy does not necessarily mean that an original in the same form has ever been in existence. It has to be appreciated that it is a relatively simple task to transpose a genuine signature from one document onto a photocopy by quick and simple processes which, quite often, if undertaken with a modicum of care, would not be detectable.

Similarly, there may be difficulties if there is the potential of a signature having been lifted from one document by computer scanning and reprinting.

It may be noted that examination of some photocopy documents can show positive evidence indicative of a transposition having taken place of a portion of the document, frequently the signature, having been removed from a genuine document and transposed onto a photocopy montage.

Similarly, computer scanned and transposed entries from one document to another may also show certain characteristic features identifying a document has been constructed using such methods.

What We Offer

We offer a free of charge:

  • Estimate of likely costs 
  • Initial brief discussion of the case with potential instructing solicitors over the telephone
  • Outline of other potential examinations that may be available to extract the maximum evidence from the documents available

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