Tariq Khan of Kangs Solicitors discusses the use of CCTV in criminal cases and the safeguards that have been imposed to ensure that such evidence is used fairly against the defendant.
The Old Days
There was a time when an identification procedure would involve attending a line up at a local police station with the victim present to see if the victim could identify the offender.
Since then times have moved on and so has the use of other methods to identify an offender. On such method employed more and more by the investigating authorities including the police is the use of CCTV.
Today the police will very often show CCTV footage to police officers to see if they can recognise an offender.
The New Regime
This procedure was litigated in R v Smith & Others  EWCA Crim 1342 in which the police officers purported to recognise the offender simply through the use of CCTV.
In that Judgement their Lordships said there was a need for such a procedure to be codified with appropriate safeguards to be implemented.
On the 6th March 2011 Code D of the Police Criminal Evidence Act 1984 came into effect to implement a procedure to be used for any person, including a police officer, when asked to view CCTV or film recording, video footage, photograph or any other visual medium with a view to recognising an individual.
The new Code D adopted and expanded upon the safeguards recommended by the Court of Appeal in R-v-Smith.
Our Experience | Kangs Solicitors
At Kangs Solicitors we have extensive experience in dealing with cases involving CCTV, photographic, video and other visual evidence.
We were recently instructed by a client in Court proceedings in Wolverhampton. In that case the only evidence of an incident was the CCTV footage and the evidence of the police officer who was asked to view the footage by the officer in the case.
The police officer proceeded to identify our client as being involved in the incident.
However, after lengthy legal submissions to the Court we were able to show that the correct procedure for the identification had not been followed.
We were able to demonstrate to the Court that there had been a number of breaches of Code D.
As a result the Court agreed with our submission that the evidence of the identification made by the police officer should be excluded from the evidence in the case.
This resulted in the case against our client being dismissed.
We are happy to advise clients on the implications of visual evidence in cases and we have an experienced team of solicitors who are equipped to deal with a wide range of other forensic issues that often arise in cases such as cell site analysis, audio evidence, covertly obtained material such as audio probes in cars and covert mobile surveillance.