Use of cell site analysis during trials

Why Cell Site Data alone may not be enough at trial

Cell Site Analysis is a critical piece of evidence in many investigations today. It can reveal attributions, identify with whom a handset was transacting, show locations detailing the area where a handset may have been and provide various correlations between phone evidence and other data sets which may be helpful in timelining events.

There are certain caveats associated with cell site evidence which always need to made clear to a jury to ensure that any decision they reach is balanced, informed and weighted against these caveats. This will avoid speculative assumption where there is no evidential foundation.

In a successful appeal in the R v SEAN THOMAS CALLAND case, it was cited that cell site evidence alone was insufficient to assert that the usage of a handset by an individual, caught on camera, and the utilisation of a specific cell site (from billing records) at a given time could be conflated to draw the conclusion that these two events were related.

It was stated that; “Evidence that a cell site was located in a particular place is not evidence that it served the nearby location in which Calland was observed, still less that it provided the best coverage of that location and would therefore be likely to have transmitted the relevant call.”

This appeal was successful for two reasons;
• Expert Testimony was not sought – an expert witness, the trusted broker in court, can offer opinion and guidance to a jury, helping them to cut through the complexity of comms data analysis and make an informed decision on facts, opinion and caveats..
• Radio Frequency (RF) Readings were not undertaken – this uses test mobile devices to record and map the cellular coverage within an area. This shows where a handset may have been when a cell is utilised, including any key locations. This is vital evidence and essential to any cell site report. RF Readings provide irrefutable evidence to inform any cell site based conclusions and insulate them from criticism.

Forensic Analytics experts have been providing cell site evidence for decades in the area of Cell Site Analysis and we have the only work published on the subject which has been adopted as a training aid for the FBI.

We are responsive, agile and professional – and we provide an end-to-end service of Software, Training and Cell Site Expertise. Our cell site software, CSAS is the trusted brand of Law Enforcement Agencies and the Criminal Defence Sector, where we are market leaders.

Our training services make us the chosen supplier of many Agencies including the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Our Cell Site Experts and RF capabilities are known by reputation. We consider it a privilege to present this evidence in court.

For unassailable expertise, professionalism, relevance and responsiveness, or for advice on your strategy in a case with no obligation – please get in touch.

Martin Griffiths, Sales Director

If this resonates with you, let’s discuss.