Refining the relevant population in forensic voice comparison - A response to Hicks et alii (2015) The importance of distinguishing information from evidence/observations when formulating propositions

Sci Justice. 2016 Dec;56(6):492-497. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2016.07.002. Epub 2016 Jul 11.


Hicks et alii [Sci. Just. 55 (2015) 520-525.] propose that forensic speech scientists not use the accent of the speaker of questioned identity to refine the relevant population. This proposal is based on a lack of understanding of the realities of forensic voice comparison. If it were implemented, it would make data-based forensic voice comparison analysis within the likelihood ratio framework virtually impossible. We argue that it would also lead forensic speech scientists to present invalid unreliable strength of evidence statements, and not allow them to conduct the tests that would make them aware of this problem.

Keywords: Forensic voice comparison; Formulating propositions; Likelihood ratio; Relevant population; Reliability; Validity.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Forensic Sciences*
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions*
  • Voice