The role of technology in sexual assault cases is a bit of a double-edged sword. This is to say that while digital advancements make it easier for predators to prey upon their victims, those same technological advancements also create a digital paper trail that can help identify the sexual abuser but also help clear the name of those facing allegations.
It’s more important now than ever to review every possible relevant piece of evidence in a case, including but not limited to digital proof. Doing so is not only the most optimal way for law enforcement officers to understand their suspect, but it is also crucial for defence lawyers in building a solid understanding of the facts in their criminal defence case. The digital footprints of a defendant may end up being just as important as their DNA profile.
What Common Pieces of Evidence Are Most Useful in Sexual Assault Investigations?
Traditionally, the most common pieces of evidence used in sexual assault investigations were found at the crime scene.
These pieces of evidence might include:
- Photographs of the crime scene.
- Biological evidence collected at the crime scene includes body fluids, hairs, blood, saliva, and stains.
- Shoeprints and footprints to crosscheck with the victim’s and suspect’s shoes.
- Fingerprints left on essential objects at the scene of the crime. Bedding should be collected and examined, including sheets, blankets, pillows, and pillowcases.
- Any other relevant object or evidence relating to the crime, including potentially a weapon, condom, and other objects, must be collected. Trace DNA could be found anywhere at the crime scene. It must be carefully collected so as not to destroy the evidence.
In addition to recovering all evidence from the crime scene, a thorough investigation must be done into the individuals at the center of the crime. This investigation will likely involve doing cheek swabs for DNA, reviewing alibis, and connecting the dots between the stories the suspects tell and what truths the evidence helps support.
What Technology Sources of Evidence Are Commonly Used in Canadian Sexual Assault Cases?
Digital evidence is now nearly as valuable as any other form of evidence when identifying or otherwise clearing suspects’ names in sexual assault cases.
Important digital evidence used in sexual assault investigations includes the following:
- Images and other evidence stored on personal computers.
- Logs created by smart home devices.
- Mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets.
- Online shopping history.
- Online videogame logs.
- Search engine history.
- Social media posts.
- The cloud.
How Does Digital Evidence Help Illustrate the Human Perspective?
Digital evidence offers insight into an individual’s thought process and motivations in ways personal interviews and DNA evidence cannot. Exploring the social media posts, online shopping, and cell phone usage of an individual can do a lot to inform the investigation and the lawyers what the individual was focused on at the time of the crime.
If evidence shows that an individual posted comments about the assault online, then the digital evidence may support the claims against them. If, however, they were playing a game online or were shopping for books on a digital bookstore at the time of the crime, then the digital evidence may help clear their name of any wrongdoing.
Contact William Jaksa Criminal Litigation to Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyer
Those accused of sexual assault need to consider all the options for defending their name, reputation, and basic freedom. The first legal option to consider is the right lawyer to hire. Then, from there, you and your lawyer can work out a strategy that addresses the allegations made against you while in pursuit of your goals.
At William Jaksa Criminal Litigation, we understand the value of digital evidence and technological advancements in sexual assault cases. We will leave no stone unturned as we examine all the facts and develop a criminal defence strategy that helps you reach the most satisfactory outcome.
To schedule a consultation, please call our law office at 647-951-8078.