Our Experts

Meet our Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiners

We draw upon a team of national and international experts.  For every case, we assign dedicated experts with in-depth knowledge of forensic handwriting and document matters.  We allocate the best examiners for the job, and often combine experts from various locations.

Individual profiles of our experts are listed adjacent.  Our forensic document examiners are members of relevant professional associations including:

  • Australian Society of Forensic Document Examiners (ASFDE);
  • Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS);
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE); and
  • Forensic Science Society (FSS).

Steven Dale

Consultant Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner

Adrian Lacroix

Consultant Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner
Director

Stephen Dubedat

Senior Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner

Manfred Hecker

Senior Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner

Steven Dale

Consultant Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner

Mr Dale has been conducting forensic examinations of documents, handwriting and signatures for over 40 years. He was a Forensic Document Examiner with Tasmania Police for 29 years, from 1973 to 2002. He was in charge of their Document Examination Section between 1978 and 2002, being responsible for all that Section’s Forensic Document Examination and subsequent reports, their court-room presentation, and training of other examiners. He was originally trained by the former Document Examiner in Charge of that Section.

His formal training included case-work attachments with the Document Examination Section of Australian Federal Police in Sydney, and the Document Examination Section of the New South Wales Police. Subsequent cases included court appearances with senior document examiners from the State Forensic Science Laboratory of Victoria. He has studied the required textbooks, and passed extensive examinations on the relevant subjects within the broad field of Forensic Document Examination. His opinions and judgement have been periodically subjected to independent assessment through proficiency tests in both Forensic Document and Handwriting Examination.

Mr Dale’s increasing participation in private-practice civil document cases, led him to conclude the government laboratory phase of his Document Examination career in 2002, to concentrate on developing his private practice throughout Australia.

In cases involving the examination of documents, he has been accepted as an expert witness, and presented evidence of examination of documents, and given opinions on numerous occasions in various courts throughout Australia. Mr Dale has been engaged to perform examinations for legal practitioners, civil parties, financial institutions, professional tribunals, police forces across Australia and the Asia Pacific regions, Public Prosecutors, government and private investigators, boards of enquiry of State and Commonwealth jurisdictions, private individuals and for media investigations.

Mr. Dale is President of the Australian Society of Forensic Document Examiners (ASFDE) and was instrumental in the foundation of that Society. As a longstanding member of the ASFDE he has over many years, attended their ‘Training Workshop Programs’, presenting many papers on his document examination works, while also learning from leading Australian and international forensic document examiners. Steven is a member of the Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS). He is a former member of the Specialist Advisory Group (SAG) of the Senior Managers of Australian & New Zealand Forensic Laboratories (SMANZFL), the Forensic Science Society (FSS), and the International Association for Identification (IAI).

For over 20 years he has been a part-time lecturer on the subject of Forensic Document Examination for T.A.F.E. College Forensic Courses and was a university lecturer on the same subject matter.

His decades of document examinations have included:

  • The discovery and illustration of methods used in a variety of fraudulently altered documents, which may lead to or involve legal proceedings;
  • The revelation of the origins and sequence of writings or changes upon questioned documents by treating for latent indentations from previously overlying pages or from overwriting impressions from pad or book pages;
  • Using scientific techniques to partially restore banknotes, cheques, or evidential documents damaged by fires or by exposure to the elements;
  • Restoring the text upon documents which had been torn or mutilated, shredded, or exposed to chemicals; and
  • The recovery of typed texts by means of examination of their machines’ typewriter ribbons, while over the years comparing and attempting to identify a procession of various machine-generated type-styles and computer fonts.

However the bulk of Steven’s work still involves both signature and handwriting examination, and comparison.

One interesting multi-skilled police task with a steep learning-curve for Steven in his early document examination days, was to dive, search for, and recover documents from inside the murky depths of the ship-wreck of the “Lake Illawarra”, which had demolished a section of Hobart's Tasman Bridge. Then came the painstaking restoration of the oily paper roll that was the recovered ship's Automatic Log, as evidence for the investigations which followed.

Since early in his career he has maintained a comprehensive extra-curricular study of “Unusual formations and characteristics in handwriting”. Steven considers this to be an extremely interesting process, and a valuable source of reference. Such study involves assessing the identification value of features of one’s writing, and their subtle variations in letter and numeral formations, and writing habits. He has found this practice develops the trained eye in the appreciation of fine detail.

(It is this combination of a writer’s unusual formations, their variations and writing habits, which makes most writings unique. Therefore the writer’s signature can be authenticated or otherwise, or the writer of an anonymous note may be identified through that writing’s similarity to the known samples of a particular writer. Also, a forgery of another person’s writing will usually exhibit deficiencies in one category or another. The deficiencies can then be clearly demonstrated through the evidence of the Forensic Document Examiner).

Adrian Lacroix

Senior Forensic Document & Handwiring Examiner

Director

In January 1997, Adrian Lacroix commenced a comprehensive five year training program in the field of Forensic Document Examination in Hobart, Tasmania.  He is a second generation forensic document and handwriting examiner, and trained under the former Head of the Forensic Document Examination Section of Tasmania Police.  Mr Lacroix received training in the examination of handwritten images, machine generated images and the other facets of documentary evidence. He studied the required text-books in relation to this field of work, participated in various proficiency tests and successfully completed his training program in January 2002.

Adrian Lacroix was employed as a Forensic Document and Handwriting Examiner with Australasia Document Examination in Perth, Western Australia, between December 2002 and January 2006. His duties included: management of the laboratory and its resources; the examination of questioned handwriting, signatures and documents; management of quality systems; the preparation of expert reports; and the presentation of evidence to the courts.  Mr Lacroix commenced with Forensic Document Examiners Pty. Ltd. in February 2006 and was responsible for all aspects of documents examination case-work received for examination, comparison and reports thereon.

Adrian has completed specialist units in Chemistry and Physics as part of an Associate Degree in Science from the University of Tasmania. In addition, he has received the degrees of Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction and Bachelor of Commerce with First Class Honours from Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia.

Adrian Lacroix is the Secretary of the Australian Society of Forensic Document Examiners (ASFDE) and a Member of that Society. He is a Member of the Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS), and the Gesellschaft für Forensische Schriftuntersuchung (GFS) (Society for Forensic Examination of Writing). He is a former Member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and the Forensic Science Society (FSS).

Adrian Lacroix maintains all of the necessary instruments and equipment used in this field of work, including different types of microscopes, magnification devises, lighting instruments, type measuring plates, projectors, video spectral examination equipment, electrostatic detection apparatus, various photographic devices, and other instruments.

Mr Lacroix regularly attends national and international conferences, seminars and workshops in this field, where current research papers on Forensic Document and Handwriting Examination are presented. Speakers at such events include experts from their particular areas of expertise. He present courses on relevant areas of Forensic Document Examination for Barristers & Solicitors, Investigators, Bank and Financial Institution Personnel, Insurance Officers, and Corporate Security Officers.

Adrian Lacroix has been accepted as an expert in the field of Forensic Document and Handwriting Examination by various courts and tribunals in Australia and overseas, including but not limited to:

  • The High Court of Australia;
  • The Federal Court of Australia;
  • The High Court of Singapore;
  • The High Court of Malaysia;
  • The International Criminal Tribunal, in the Hague, Netherlands
  • Supreme Courts of various States and Territories in Australia;
  • The Supreme Court of the Seychelles;
  • Various Courts of Member States of the European Union;
  • The Family Court of Australia;
  • The Family Court of Western Australia;
  • The Federal Circuit Court of Australia;
  • District Court of Western Australia; and
  • Magistrates Court of various States and Territories in Australia.

Mr Lacroix has been engaged to examine documents for civil parties, legal representatives and financial institutions across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Stephen Dubedat

Senior Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner

Stephen Dubedat commenced Forensic Document Examination training in 1987 with the New South Wales Police, acquiring his expertise and experience under the guidance of four accredited experts in this field. He commenced with Forensic Document Examiners Pty. Ltd. in March 2006. Stephen examines thousands of documents each year encompassing all facets of document examination, and has written hundreds of statements and reports since 1987.

Since 1991, Stephen has given evidence as an expert witness in document examination on numerous occasions in Local, District, Supreme and Coroners Courts, and in other jurisdictions. The topics on which Stephen has given such evidence include the identification of handwriting, signatures, typewriters and other machine generated documents, infrared and ultraviolet examinations on ink and paper, indentations, charred documents, alterations and overwriting, tears and perforations, relative dating of entries, various image enhancement techniques, multiplexed video tapes and digital imaging.

Mr. Dubedat has also been involved in the quality control of other document examiners, training of document examiners, production of training manuals, articles and technical manuals. He has participated in many proficiency tests. He has regularly attended scientific meetings and workshops, and has presented various materials to his peers in Australia and overseas.

Stephen is the Vice-President of the Australian Society of Forensic Document Examiners (ASFDE) and a Member of that Society.

Mr Dubedat's work is often used as evidence in court.  Mr Dubedat ensures appropriate forensic and quality assurance standards are met.  Mr Dubedat is often Court appointed as an expert in New South Wales, and engaged jointly by parties in various matters.  Mr Dubedat's comprehensive reports are in accordance with the requirements of the NSW Supreme Court Uniform Civil Procedure Rules Schedule 7 Expert Witness Code of Conduct (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_reg/ucpr2005305/sch7.html) or equivalent rules for the appropriate jurisdiction.

Manfred Hecker

Senior Forensic Document & Handwriting Examiner

Dr. Hecker commenced his forensic career at the Federal Police Office, Forensic Science Institute, Germany in 1970, specialising in Handwriting. He has worked for more than 30 years for the German Federal Police as Head of the section Handwriting/ Speaker Identification/ Forensic Linguistics. During this time he was responsible for the development of this section from 12 staff to 70 staff, including 12 scientists, as well as the integration of Forensic Linguistics into the unit. In 1981, Dr. Hecker was promoted to Chief Scientific Director. He produced courses for State Police Handwriting Experts, and Federal and State Handwriting Technicians.

In 2001, he was appointed Duty Head of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) Forensic Science Institute. In 2004, he was selected as the Project Manager of the EU-funded project Strengthening the Forensic Capacities of the National Turkish Police.

Since 1970, Dr. Hecker has lectured regularly throughout Europe, Israel and North America in the field of forensic handwriting examination. He has been involved with various related training programs during this time.

Dr. Hecker joined Forensic Document Examiners Pty. Ltd. in October 2006 and is responsible for the examination of German and English handwritings and identity documents undertaken by Forensic Document Examiners Pty. Ltd.