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Experiences of evidence presentation in court: an insight into the practice of crime scene examiners in England, Wales and Australia

Sheppard, K, Fieldhouse, S and Cassella, J (2020) Experiences of evidence presentation in court: an insight into the practice of crime scene examiners in England, Wales and Australia. Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 10 (8). ISSN 2090-536X

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Abstract

Background: The ability to present complex forensic evidence in a courtroom in a manner that is fully comprehensible to all stakeholders remains problematic. Individual subjective interpretations may impede a collective and correct understanding of the complex environments and the evidence therein presented to them. This is not fully facilitated or assisted in any way with current non-technological evidence presentation methods such as poor resolution black and white photocopies or unidimensional photographs of complex 3D environments. Given the wide availability of relatively cheap technology, such as tablets, smartphones and laptops, there is evidence to suggest that individuals are already used to receiving visually complex information in relatively short periods of time such as is available in a court hearing. courtrooms could learn from this more generic widespread use of technology and have demonstrated their ability to do so in part by their adoption of the use of tablets for Magistrates. The aim of this current study was to identify the types of digital technology being used in courts and to obtain data from police personnel presenting digital evidence in court. Results: A questionnaire study was conducted in this research to explore current technology used within courtrooms from the perspective of crime scene personnel involved in the presentation of complex crime scene evidence. The study demonstrated that whilst many of the participants currently utilize high-end technological solutions to document their crime scenes, such as 360° photography or laser scanning technologies, their ability to present such evidence was hindered or prevented. This was most likely due to either a lack of existing technology installed in the court, or due to a lack of interoperability between new and existing technology. Conclusion: This study has contributed to this academic field by publishing real life experiences of crime scene examiner’s, who have used advanced technology to record and evaluate crime scenes but are limited in their scope for sharing this information with the court due to technological insufficiency. Contemporary recording techniques have provided the opportunity for further review of crime scenes, which is considered to be a valuable property over previous documentation practice, which relied upon the competency of the investigator to comprehensively capture the scene, often in a single opportunity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Courtroom evidence; 360° photography; Evidence presentation; Digital; Court
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Divisions: Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences
Publisher: SpringerOpen
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2020 10:34
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2020 10:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1186/s41935-020-00184-5
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12368

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