Conspiracy to supply class A drugs
We were instructed by the police to authenticate covert recordings of conversations between a number of males suspected of drug dealing and to compare the speech of one of these males with the voice of Haroon Rafiq. The results indicated strong support for the view that Haroon Rafiq was the speaker of interest. Haroon Rafiq pleaded guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison.
Forensic analysis undertaken:
- Speaker comparison
Trial for murder of Kieran McGrath |
Taxi calls after the murder and recordings from a prison van were made and the speakers in and content of the recordings was at issue in the trials. Dr Rhodes carried out speaker comparison, attribution of voices and transcription of content throughout the trial and subsequent retrial of Remi Adams and other suspects for murder. Further to this work, we were instructed to assess and scrutinise the work of other voice experts and transcribers.
BBC article following original trial
MEN article from the retrial
February, March and October 2016; Liverpool and Manchester Crown Square Crown Courts
Instructed by the Defence; Dr Rhodes provided multiple reports and gave evidence in court for the original trial
Murder involving multiple suspects
Calls were made to a taxi company as part of a series of events which led to the murder and shooting of two young men.
We were instructed by the police to compare the voices of a number of suspects with the taxi caller. The results indicated that one of the men could have been the caller, while the others had very different voice and speech patterns. The suspect identified by our testing later admitted to having made the call in court. He was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 36 years imprisonment.
Further information about the case can be found in this article:
November 2015; Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Instructed by the Crown; Dr Rhodes’ report was accepted in evidence and helped to direct the prosecutions.
Hoax 999 call which prompted armed response |
A hoax call was made to West Midlands Police about a car containing a firearm. The call was made from the mobile phone of the suspect, Mr Sadiq. Dr Rhodes was instructed to compare the voice of Mr Sadiq with the hoax caller. By making a reference recording of Mr Sadiq’s voice over the telephone, we were able to show very significant differences between the two voices, to the extent that the possibility of Mr Sadiq being the caller could effectively be ruled out. The Judge Magistrate in the case acknowledged that without the voice evidence, Mr Sadiq would have been (wrongly) convicted of the offence.
August 2015; Birmingham Magistrates Court, UK
Instructed by the Defence; Dr Rhodes provided a report and gave evidence in court
Terrorism and bomb hoax which closed Knaresborough |
A hoax caller closed off the town and invited the wrongful arrest of a number of innocent men. We were instructed to compare the voice of the hoax caller with a number of suspects. The evidence assisted in the case against Mr Islam and was able to distinguish his voice from the other suspects including his brother’s. Shamsul Islam was convicted
Article containing case information
November 2014, North Yorkshire, UK
Instructed by the Crown; submitted reports and gave evidence at York Crown Court
Birmingham gang tried for kidnapping, torture and subsequent witness intimidation |
Provided a key witness for the prosecution case in the trial of multiple defendants. The recordings comprised numerous telephone calls which we were instructed to compare with suspect interview recordings. The examinations also involved transcription/analysis of disputed sections from some of these recordings. The defendants were convicted and sentenced to a collective 66 years.
Article containing information about the case
November 2014, Birmingham, UK
Instructed by the Crown, produced reports and gave evidence in the witness box.
Speaker comparison and transcripts in South Yorkshire murder trial |
We acted for the defence in this case and produced a transcript and a report on forensic speaker comparison. As part of the work we were asked to comment on a prosecution expert’s transcript, and attribution within that transcript, and produce our own version.
BBC article on the case
February 2014; Sheffield Crown Court before Mr Justice Staples, UK
Instructed by the defence, provided reports and transcripts and gave evidence in the witness box
Three Royal Marines Court-Martialled for murder of Afghan insurgent
In this case, we were instructed by the prosecution to transcribe the content of utterances and attribute them to Marines in videos made on a helmet-mounted camera. The camera was worn by ‘Marine B’ and filmed a team on a battle damage assessment after an Apache helicopter engaged an armed Afghan man. Three marines were charged and one, ‘Marine A’ – an experienced sergeant, was found guilty. The other two marines were acquitted. An article from the Guardian explains the role of the transcript:
Guardian article on transcript [25th October 2013]
October 2013; Bulford Military Court Centre, UK
Instructed by the prosecution, provided reports and transcripts and gave evidence in the witness box
Murder case in the state of Florida |
In this case, which received international attention, we were engaged by the defence to provide an expert assessment of speech evidence submitted. This testimony was entered into a Frye hearing on the admissibility of speech evidence where one sample featured distress screams. Using our experience and knowledge, and relying on research carried out in partnership with the University of York, we provided a number of conclusions which were put forward by Prof French via video-link. The Judge ruled in favour of the defence, stating:
Defense witness Dr. French, regarded as an international expert in the field of forensic speech analysis, has worked in the field since the late 1980′s. The Court found the testimony of Dr. French to be the most compelling of the witnesses presented.
June, 2013; Seminole court (Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida), Sanford, FLA.
Instructed by the defence, provided deposition and appeared in court.
Trials for multiple murders, including two police officers |
We were engaged to compare speakers in a number of recordings in this case, including the call made by Dale Cregan to the police to lure two police officers to a house where they were eventually murdered. We also analysed a call made after the shooting of two men in a pub. Dale Cregan eventually pleaded guilty, along with a group of his associates.
2012; Preston Crown Court, UK
Prepared reports for the prosecution