Crash course in writing analysis

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 12:00am

Hovering, meandering and draglines. Those were some of the terms batted around at the Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum trial yesterday as the public got a crash course in the esoteric world of forensic handwriting analysis.

These terms cropped up when Chinachem's handwriting expert, Robert Radley, went through the differences of signatures by lawyer Winfield Wong Wing-cheung when magnified on a projector. Mr Wong is one of the testifying witnesses to a 2006 will, of which Tony Chan Chun-chuen claimed to have control.

'Hovering' means the pen is floating on the paper before a mark is made, 'meandering' describes a winding path on the paper, and 'draglines', a term that came up several times, refers to a 'tail' left at the end of a pen stroke.

The Zeiss microscope that was used to magnify Wong's signatures cost the Chinachem Foundation HK$180,000 and was bought specially for the hearing.

Outside court, a Chinachem solicitor, Keith Ho Man-kei, revealed that the microscope was the most hi-tech in the field. It can magnify by 400 times.

Mr Ho said the foundation would donate it for educational purposes at the end of the probate battle. The foundation has also spent several hundred thousand dollars to hire and fly Mr Radley to give evidence. The cost includes his accommodation here.

The forensic handwriting expert is based in Britain. Mr Radley, who has more than 30 years of experience, arrived in Hong Kong last Monday and spent a few days preparing for the hearing. He will be in town until Saturday.