Criminal profiling as expert evidence

Wayne Petherick*, David Field, Andrew Lowe, Elizabeth Fry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter addresses criminal profiling as expert evidence. Some of the issues involving profiling as expert evidence are explored, including the induction-centric nature of the literature, the attitude of courts toward profiling evidence, and some common areas of profiling testimony. A detailed overview of the Frye and Daubert rules of evidence in the United States is provided, followed by a thorough examination of the rules of evidence in Australia. The greater weight of literature on expert evidence covers inductive profiling, and this suggests a lack of awareness that not all profiling methods are equal. The aim of the profiles is to present evidence that the character of the accused is remarkably consistent to the typical profile of certain abuser types. The presentation of this type of evidence is more akin to psychological testimony, and is not generally consistent with the overall goal of criminal profiling. The most beneficial evidence that profiling offers to criminal proceedings is the interpretation of the offender's state of mind before, during, and after the commission of a crime. It is found that in Australia, there are essentially five rules of expert evidence that dictate the recognition of expert witnesses and define the scope and limits of their testimony. The rules include the expertise rule, area of expertise rule, factual basis rule, common knowledge rule, and ultimate issue rule.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSerial Crime
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)9780123749987
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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