This is the age of visual recordings – is our judicial system making the most of it ?
For the last 3 decades the CCTV technology has been burdened with cries of, “ invasion of privacy, and loss of freedoms”. Regardless, the industry continued developing technologies with the ongoing need and demand for visual evidence. The last two decades have brought the digital camera systems more into both public and Government institutions, not to mention our homes.
With the recent advent of analytic Facial and License Plate Recognition systems now being incorporated into modern CCTV, we have a much more sophisticated means of surveillance and identification.
CCTV has been my career since 1985, writing books, training, consulting, guest speaking and expert witness. Todays CCTV’s capacity to capture a multi pixel image in real time is now affordable for many more applications, and in making this technology accessible to many has had an incredible effect in the court rooms across the land.
Most of us remember being given video evidence, it was grainy, a combination of jerky, time delayed sequence of poorly recorded events, rarely admissible in court.
It’s a different story today, many cases have been determined solely on the evidence of the video recorded at the precise time of the crime. Lawyers require a CCTV specialist that is credible with the experience to explain both the simple and forensic methodology needed to clarify this complicated digital technology in an easy to understand language.
Representing legal firms as an expert witness in both civil and criminal cases required the skillset to be able to come up with the evidence, which in most cases is not clearly visible and requires the use of specialised video software capable of converting various video formats then enhancing the images without altering the original copies.
An expert should present a comprehensive report that will take the court step by step through this methodology this requires explanations that include all the devices or equipment used in the system to produce the images.
Winning a case based on CCTV evidence is a technical achievement, it requires an understanding of the latest technologies, as well as legacy brands and makes of CCTV equipment. The court relies on the expert to have the ability to answer and explain the questions put forth by the barrister with clarity and simplicity.
Douglas Grant (MCSE)
Certified Analytic IT Consultant & Expert Legal Witness
CCTV Consulting Services www.cctv.com.au