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#1 Posted : 06 December 2000 15:26:00(UTC)
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Posted By Graham Clarke MIOSH, MIIRSM
Can you help me, what type of photo's are acceptable in a court of law, i.e.

1. 35mm
2. Polaroid
3. Digital
4. Throw away type

We are talking about evidence here, is it acceptable to use any of the above.
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#2 Posted : 06 December 2000 16:33:00(UTC)
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Posted By Phil Roberts
In my former life as a photographer I was asked on several occasions to take photographs of personal injuries to be used in court for damages claims.
On one occasion I was asked to photgraph a damaged pavement area before the local council repaired it. This again was for a damages claim. All these photographs were provided on 35mm. 7x5 prints. The negatives were also provided to prove no manipulation had taken place. All the photographs were requested by solicitors and used in subsequent court cases. I am sure other types of print such as polaroid would be acceptable but digital images can be easily manipulated and my guess is they would not be acceptable.

Hope this helps
Regards Phil Roberts
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#3 Posted : 07 December 2000 21:35:00(UTC)
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Posted By Martyn Hendrie
I have taken polaroid photo's that have been accepted in court.However, I had to turn up in person to testify that the photos submitted were taken by me at the time and place where the alleged offence occurred.

I agree with the other respondant that digital would not be accepted.

Hope this helps
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#4 Posted : 08 December 2000 08:36:00(UTC)
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Posted By Phil Roberts
An addenda to my previous posting. Proof of time and place was by sworn affidavit. I did not have to attend court.

Regards Phil
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#5 Posted : 08 December 2000 08:41:00(UTC)
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Posted By Adrian Watson
A photograph (or film) the relevance of which can be established by the testimony of someone with personal knowledge of the circumstances in which it was taken (or made), may also be admitted to prove the commission of an offence and the identity of the offender. The contents of photographs and films on which a party seeks to rely may be proved by production of the original; or by production of a copy proved to be an authentic copy; or by the parol evidence of witnesses who have seen the photograph or film.

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#6 Posted : 08 December 2000 08:41:00(UTC)
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Posted By Adrian Watson
A photograph (or film) the relevance of which can be established by the testimony of someone with personal knowledge of the circumstances in which it was taken (or made), may also be admitted to prove the commission of an offence and the identity of the offender. The contents of photographs and films on which a party seeks to rely may be proved by production of the original; or by production of a copy proved to be an authentic copy; or by the parol evidence of witnesses who have seen the photograph or film.

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#7 Posted : 08 December 2000 10:58:00(UTC)
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Posted By Martin R. Bessant
Graham,

I do not know if this helps, but before I retired,often took digital photographs with date stamping as evidence as part of accident investigations. They were not used in court as far as I know but were certainly used to defend claims for damages.

I used to provide a signed statement with them confirming that they were original and had not been modified in any way.

With the widespread use of digital still and video camera's I think that courts will probably have to examine and rule on their admissability in each case.

It is an interesting problem and I will be interested to see the outcome. I will ask a colleague who is a Magistrate for his comments and also raise it at the Healthcare SG for comment.

Good Luck,

Martin.
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#8 Posted : 08 December 2000 17:16:00(UTC)
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Posted By Andy Lucas
Graham,

There is nothing wrong in using any type of visual presentation.

A photograph merely assists the court in it's understanding of a case. A description should always be given in a Section 9 Witness statement provided by the person presenting the photographic evidence just in case the photo etc is not accepted. The photo etc should be seen as a means of assisting the court and a way to put the icing on the judicial cake.

If the photo merely shows a fact ie there was no guard to machinery then a photo is ideal, however be careful if the photo is meant to show the extent of a problem ie how dark or dirty something is, as you may be asked technical questions about the use of the photo as it is open to adulteration etc.

Other things to consider are the impact of the Human Rights act and the right of privacy when taking the photo. If permission has not been granted by persons in the photo you may run into trouble exhibiting the evidence.

As an enforcement officer I have relied heavily upon photo evidence without any problems. Colleagues of mine have used video evidence extensively. As long as you are careful the courts are generally grateful to have such visual evidence.

Hope this is ok

Andy
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