Ask yourself a simple question: “Do I know how to identify the presence of digital evidence in my case?” . And then you should ask another question. “If I overlook the presence of digital evidence, am I doing my job well ? Am I providing the best defence to my client? Am I doing my due diligence? ”
Most solicitors I first spoke to were surprised with the answers they ended up giving themselves. When in doubt, ASK ! Experts are there for solicitors to use them. And the best advice is to ask as early as possible, not let it for the last possible moment.
Here is a small list of possible cases. Can you identify if any of them can use digital forensics to provide evidence that support your client’s position?
- Someone is arrested for stealing lead from a church.
- Someone receives a digital document (i.e. PDF) from their employer who claims the document is older than they believe.
- Someone is accused of disturbing the peace
- Someone is accused for murder while he claims he was not at the locus
- Someone suspect their spouse is cheating on them
- Someone suspects their employees drive to places not related to their assignments on company time and on a company car
- Someone suspects their child is not where they said they were
- Someone is afraid that their Facebook account or their email account is hacked.
- Someone has their car stolen
- Someone is afraid their employees are stealing important pieces of information to sell to a third party
- Someone is accused of abusing a company computer
How many of these cases require an investigation of digital evidence? Obviously the ones that include computers and email accounts. What about the rest?
The correct answer is ALL of them. All these examples are from actual cases we have dealt with ! Except for one to be honest … it is one I read about. The one about stealing led from a church. Actually most of the led thieves look up the church and its surroundings on Google Earth and Google Maps before making a hit. We had clients that needed to establish alibis by proving they were playing on their games consoles, or by retrieving information of their whereabouts from mobile phone records.
And these were just a few examples. With people using more and more digital devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, satnavs etc.) , leaving their signatures and traces on social media websites, and tweeting about what they see in the street the moment they see it, the investigation, extraction and analysis of digital evidence is not a novelty, but a daily routine.