The Fiddler: Criminal stench

Surely the bloodhound and other nose sensitive canines shouldn’t be made redundant without terminal benefits. They surely still have a role to play, albeit as Assistant Sniffers.

The Fiddler

In the endless fight against the scourge of criminal behaviour we must make use of all available crime detection devices. One device, sometimes overlooked, is sniffing out criminals. Hence the expression, “criminals get up our noses”.

In one learned article in the Science Daily it was pointed out:

“Dogs have been used to identify criminals through body odour identification in court, but it is commonly thought that the human sense of smell is inferior to that of other mammals. However, research shows that humans have the ability to distinguish individuals by their unique body odour.”

A summary appears at the beginning of this article:

“Move over sniffer dogs, people who witnessed a crime are able to identify criminals by their smell. Police lineups normally rely on sight, but nose-witnesses can be just as reliable as eye-witnesses, new research has found.”

In fact, one of The Fiddler’s many prodigious talents is to sniff out criminals, grab these smelly villains by the scruffs of their dirty necks and cast them into a dark stinking dungeon, there to rot away until they have washed themselves and are fit to stand or sit trial, inexorably leading to them being cast back into a dark stinking dungeon.

One malodorous scoundrel had the nerve to suggest that The Fiddler’s nose might have deceived him/her in respect of this person’s undoubted criminal guilt. The Fiddler was astounded. Was this knave not aware that Fiddler’s infallible sense of smell had been much sought after by such well-known law enforcement agencies as the Patagonia Amateur Detective Agency? Had he not read the famous Shakespearean lines, “The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended Fiddler’s nostril?” Did he not know that all the leading journals on Criminal Stenchology rely heavily on The Fiddler’s profound knowledge on the subject?

The Fiddler, however, being an animal rights activist, strongly believes that the human crime sniffer should not entirely replace the canine. Surely the bloodhound and other nose sensitive canines shouldn’t be made redundant without terminal benefits. They surely still have a role to play, albeit as Assistant Sniffers.

The Fiddler, however, must regrettably point out that the performance of his/her Assistant Sniffers have not always been that good. On one occasion, his/her rather elderly bloodhound, Droopy, when assigned to sniff out the perpetrator of a series of bank robberies, identified the miscreant as a baobab tree – he was certainly barking up the wrong tree. On another occasion, Droopy was tasked to locate the bodies of the victims of a serial killer and returned carrying a packet of Kellogg’s Cornflakes. The vet of the non-warlike genre could only suggest that Droopy should be retired from service on full benefits. There is another problem; not all of us can afford to buy expensive Rolex watches for our watchdogs.

There are also some evidential difficulties on relying on canine testimony. A court in India astutely and correctly pinpointed the objections that were typically raised towards dog tracking evidence. A dog cannot go into the witness box, give testimony under oath and be cross-examined. Testimony by the canine’s human partner to relay the dog’s proof would be hearsay (or maybe woofsay) evidence. The court went on to say:

“A crucial challenge attached to expert proof in regard to tracking dog behavior (sic) in claiming to correctly pursue a scent is the difficulty of understanding what constitutes the reasoning mechanisms of the dog when it appears to be following its quarry. A dog has no means of evaluating its ‘evidence.’ He does not notify us whether he acts on a combination of probability or on a prevalence of chances, much less if he merely plays a game. Concern about these facts tends to raise questions about the dangers that are significantly dependent on such proof attached to convictions.”

See Dafedar v State of Maharashtra (1969) 2 SCC 234; AIR 1970 283

The Fiddler acknowledges that scentology may not assist where the criminals are immersed in the murky, foul smelling sea or lake of corruption. Here piscology needs to be used. The fish-catchers receive intensive training and strict instruction on what fish may be caught; they must catch all the small fish but catching big fish is ill-advised, if not downright dangerous. This methodology will not be successful for even for catching little fish if the fish-catchers are corrupt.

There is a further device for catching criminals: that is known as “criminal stupidity’. There are many examples of the criminal technique of scoring an own goal. A few examples of this are these:

In 1985, Dennis Newton was on trial for robbing a convenience store in America. While he was defending himself, claiming to be innocent, he got angry with the store manager who identified him as the robber. Not being able to control his temper, he jumped up and screamed, “I should have blown your F*&^%$ head off.” After that, he tried to correct himself by saying, “Well, if I had been the one, if I had been the one that was there.”

A Polish author Krystian Bala might have got away with murder if he hadn’t written about it in his 2003 bestselling novel, Amok. He paid the price when police noticed that the details of a murder in the book eerily matched those of an unsolved case. The police then arrested him.

In one case, the criminal left behind a vital clue at a house he’d broken into: his mobile phone with a photo of himself on it. He was recognised by a detective investigating the theft. At first the thief claimed he had lost his phone and someone else was using it, but this excuse fell through when the stolen goods were found at his home.

In another case, a dog proved to be an inadvertent crime buster. Mr J Ealey committed a burglary in Detroit. In his haste to get away, he left his dog at the scene of the crime. The police soon arrived and shouted ‘Home Boy’. They then followed the dog back to the burglar’s house and arrived only seconds after he did.

Just for the record, not all criminals are dirty as shown by this example:

A retired couple from Lancashire returned home from a holiday in 2014 to discover a burglar fast asleep in their bed. Martin Holtby and Pat Dyson were amazed to find the intruder, Lukasz Chojnowski, had done their dishes, washed his underwear and even bought some groceries. Ms Dyson said their house “wasn’t too tidy” when they went away, but Chojnowski — who is originally from Poland but moved to Leeds — had kindly tidied up. “He did burn an old saucepan but that happens!” she added. Chojnowski, then 28, admitted burglary, and was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.

Finally, in the contest to determine whether male humans or male canines are the best sniffers, there is this delightful story. The following advertisement appeared in an Atlanta newspaper:

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I’m a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cosy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I’ll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I’m yours. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy.

Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society about an eight-week old black Labrador retriever for which a home was being sought. What else can you possible say about the human male?

Fortunately I prevented my prudish Editor from putting a red line through the last item and told him not to be like other disappointed males who did not get what they desired.

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