Have you ever thought about hiring a Private Investigator? Perhaps you suspect your spouse or partner of infidelity or maybe you need to chase down a debtor or locate a missing person. It could even be something as simple as a background check on a new employee. Whatever the cause for hiring a Private Investigator, you will have hired them for their ability to provide you with evidence that is admissible in court.
The role of a Private Investigator is to assemble evidence and proof, find missing individuals or those who may be in hiding and conduct surveillance. Evidence is essential to court cases and trials because it enables cases to be solved. However, it is imperative to ensure that all evidence obtained through an investigation is admissible in court.
There are multiple types of court admissible evidence including:
- Documentary Evidence – This evidence is referred to as hard and physical form and when gathered by Private Investigators it may frequently consist of photographs, video footage, activity logs, written statements and court records. Evidence like this can be presented to a judge or jury for examination.
- Testimonial Evidence – Testimonies are typically written, or verbal statements presented by a witness under oath. In written form it’s a signed document with a statement justifying or recounting events. In verbal form, it’s a recounting of events inside a courtroom with a judge and jury present.
- Physical Evidence – This evidence is usually an object, or an image or video of an object. In a criminal proceeding, this may refer to items such as a weapon or a set of fingerprints retrieved from a crime scene. In a non-criminal proceeding, this could refer to a visitor or guest logbook, or an item that relates to the case.
- Original Evidence – This type of evidence is typically an item or testimony often characterised as an ‘out of court statement.’ In a legal proceeding, this may sometimes be used to establish the mental health status of the person in question.
For any kind of evidence to be admissible in court, it must have been gathered legally. This means that the Private Investigator and the individual who hired them must be able to demonstrate that the evidence was retrieved through legal and ethical means.
Surveillance is the most common way to obtain evidence. The police often use this method to catch criminals and gather information on the suspected individuals’ movements. There are numerous ways that a Private Investigator can conduct surveillance:
To track down movements of an individual or find out where a person’s particular location is, mobile surveillance is typically used. This type of surveillance can be undertaken on foot or a vehicle.
To conduct surveillance on a house where suspected illegal activities are being performed, spouses living together during or throughout a divorce proceeding, static surveillance is mostly used. This type of surveillance will typically be detailed activity logs, photographs and video footages.
Surveillance can also be undertaken by monitoring the suspected individual’s social media accounts and their activities online that may be accessible to the public eye.
Private Investigation companies are not by rights regulated by the government and their actions and methods can be put under strict examination if they go out of their way to conduct unethical and unlawful means to obtain information. Private Investigators are not permitted to have accessibility to an individual’s personal phone records or computer logs. If a Private Investigation company in some way obtains information illegally, this evidence will be inadmissible in court.