I completed my Masters Degree in Natural Science at the University of Birmingham, with a specialism in Chemistry (MNatSc (Chem)) in 2000, followed by an MSc in Forensic Science at Strathclyde University in 2001. After leaving university I worked at the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory as a scientist in the equine and canine drug screening unit.
Between 2003 and 2005 I completed a two year training programme at the Grampian Police Forensic Laboratory in Aberdeen to become a forensic document examiner and was authorised by the Secretary of State for Scotland to examine and report handwriting and documents cases.
I have completed training courses in 'Excellence in Report Writing', 'Witness Familiarisation' and 'Cross Examination' organised by Bond Solon.
I am a Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and a Corresponding Member of the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Inc. I am also a Practising Member of the Academy of Experts.
I was a registered Forensic Practitioner until the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners (CRFP) was disbanded in 2009.
I take part in regular proficiency tests supplied by Collaborative Testing Services, in common with many Forensic laboratories throughout the world.
I have nearly 20 years' experience as a Forensic Document Examiner, moving from Aberdeen to work at Document Evidence Ltd in Birmingham, which was acquired by Key Forensic Services Ltd in 2008, before becoming a self-employed expert consultant. During the course of my career I have worked with several of the most experienced Forensic Document Examiners in the UK.
I have examined in excess of 1000 cases from private and corporate instructions, civil and criminal matters as instructed by legal advisors (including cases where I have acted as a 'Single Joint Expert'), government departments and direct instruction from various UK and foreign Police forces. I have also provided evidence for enquiries into media personalities and politicians, including a governmental inquiry in Malta.
I have given expert evidence at court on many occasions, attending both magistrates and crown courts in the UK and worldwide, in person and remotely. I have also given evidence at employment tribunals and civil hearings.
I have provided training in relation to the use and interpretation of Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA – a tool used by document examiners to assist in detecting writing indentations on paper) on several occasions. This includes a bespoke course designed for and delivered in Madrid to members of the Guardia Civil, the national police force of Spain. I have also acted as trainer and mentor to several newly recruited document examiners during their own postgraduate training.
Barratt EM, Smith Y: Examination of an altered bar code on a vehicle tax disc. Science & Justice 2005 45(3): p135-9
Appeared on the BBC television programme 'Fake Britain' (season 5 episode 7) as an expert witness, demonstrating the methodology used in a case involving a forged will.
Contributed to Episode 7 of the BBC Radio 4 Podcast 'Fairy Meadow' broadcast in 2022, relating to the disappearance of three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer in Australia in 1970.
Interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 programme 'You and Yours' in 2023 about a fabricated document relating to a student tenancy:
Recent Conference Attendance
IASR, 3rd International eConference on Document Examination, March 2021
The American Society of Questioned Document Examiners:
78th AGM, Virtual meeting August 2020
79th AGM, Virtual meeting August 2021
Australian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Inc:
Annual Scientific Meeting, Virtual meeting May 2021
Annual Scientific Meeting, Virtual meeting May 2022
Foster & Freeman Questioned Documents Symposium, July 2021
Forensic Document Examiners – Live International Knowledge Exchange on Documents, March 2023