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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
Minerva Medicolegale 2007 June;127(2):137-47
Scientific method and the problem of “testing” in legal medicine
De Ferrari F., Manzoni S.
Cattedra di Medicina Legale Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia
On the ground of the Italian Code of Criminal and Civil Procedure, the trial basis is characterized by dialectics between the parties of the case (so called debate), causing the fixation of the thema probandum as an essential element that cannot be disregarded. The traditional and consolidated praxis of forensic legal medicine, often requires the presence of the forensic medicine specialist during the trial in order to ask him specific questions: his answers, thus, have high probative meanings, and become diriment in the judge’s decisions. The authors, therefore, analysed, in the light of the Italian Supreme Court of Justice sentences and of the episthemological interpretations of the twentieth-century philosophy (among which Gödel’s theorem), which scientific role the legal medicine methodology has in assuming evidences in judicial proceedings. The authors, moreover, emphasized that the forensic science rarely achieves “certain” judgements, limiting itself more often to “probability” judgements (above all in judgements about medical liability by omission). Never-theless, this condition doesn’t invalidate the correctness of the scientific method, which has to follow a scientific certainty, and not the judicial certainty; this difference suffer from terminology incompatibility between the medico-scientific and the law world.