Using video link to take forensic evidence - lessons from an Australian case study
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Law and Justice
This article examines the use of audio-visual communications technology (specifically, video link) to enable courts to receive forensic evidence in criminal cases. It outlines the legislative powers to take evidence via video link in Australia, identifying their broad discretionary nature, and analysing relevant case law on their interpretation. The article then discusses empirical findings from an Australian case study in a jurisdiction where a police forensic service has a policy to promote the use of this technology to take evidence from its staff. The findings suggest that, although the policy has had some success in influencing the approach of courts to the exercise of their powers to take evidence this way, video links are not being used as widely as originally envisaged. The reasons for this have to do both with the availability of the technology itself, and perceptions about its adequacy to deliver the evidence, particularly evidence that is complex, or requires the use of supporting visual aids.