A Guide to Murder Cases

7 February 2017

Digital devices, for the vast majority of the population, are a part of everyday life. With 3.4 Billion Internet Users, 2.3 Billion Active Social Media Users (Twitter, Facebook etc) and 3.7 Billion mobile device users (Phones, Tablets), it’s always, therefore, worth considering “How can digital forensics assist my case?”

Whilst any and all crime is a serious matter, the investigation of Murder and the loss of life will always take a high priority. In our experience, we have found a large number of legal professionals are unsure how digital devices and digital forensics can assist when it comes to a murder case, “Is it applicable?”, “How do I get it?”, “What do I ask for?”. The purpose of this guide is to assist legal professionals who may be unsure as to how digital forensics can assist them when formulating a defence strategy.

Potential Types of Evidence

During the examination of digital devices, whether used by the defendant or indeed the victim, there are numerous types of data which can be sought. It is essential for any investigating body to seek data concerning:

  • Location – whether the location of the defendant at a certain moment in time would indicate if it was physically possible/impossible for your client to commit the murder. (Internet Browsing/GPS/Cell Site)
  • Intent – whether your client’s interests or search history support or rebut intent to commit the murder. (Internet Browsing/Communication)
  • Access – whether your client’s search history can prove/disprove if they had access to the implement/weaponry that was used to commit the murder. (Internet Browsing)
  • Capability – whether evidence found can prove/disprove if your client has the means to carry out a crime in the way that it was carried out. (Internet Browsing/GPS/Cell Site)
  • Motivation – looking into the relationships and internet histories to determine whether there is any evidence to suggest motivation for the murder. (Internet Browsing/Communication)
  • Involvement – Data which can either support or rebut the involvement of more than one person, as well as providing insight into who was involved. (Communication)
  • Relationship – whether there was a positive or negative relationship between your client and the victim, or if there was even a relationship at all. (Internet Browsing/Communication/GPS/Cell Site/Call Data)

It is also worth noting that the absence of any data sought may also be of significance in any case.

Potential Sources of Evidence

In conjunction with the type of data sought, Digital Forensic Providers (such as IntaForensics) will, as part of the analysis, conduct a thorough review of potential sources of evidence to support or rebut your client’s, and/or the prosecutions, evidence in line with the circumstances of the case and the specific instructions received.

Communication (IM/SMS/Email)

Communication data has multiple forms, all of which are valuable sources of evidence.

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