Judge accepts digital crime scene photos

Justice Roy Anderson accepted into evidence photographs taken by Scenes of Crime Officer Ronnie Pollard after questioning Mr. Pollard on Tuesday.

The crime scene was the Beach Bay residence of Martin Gareau, whose body was found on the ground floor on Tuesday, 20 May, 2008.

Josue Carrillo-Perez is charged with his murder.

Justice Anderson first asked if Mr. Pollard could confirm that the images in two photos of finger impressions were made by him personally. Mr. Pollard said yes.

He also said yes when the judge asked him if he took the photos of the crime scene.

‘Once you had taken them, what was the next step?’ the judge asked.

Mr. Pollard explained that the memory card in the camera is placed in a burner, which burns the images onto a compact disc. This CD is a ‘read only’ – which means the images cannot be altered. Images were then printed on paper from the CD.

The officer thought he had printed 10 copies of every photo in the 116-photo album. Senior Crown Counsel Trevor Ward explained that number was necessary when it was thought the trial would proceed with a jury instead of judge alone.

As to various dates on the backs of photos, Mr Pollard said the processor stamps the date on which the photo is printed. ‘It’s automatic,’ he told the court.

Defence Attorney Anthony Akiwumi asked if Mr. Pollard had the original memory card. Mr. Pollard said no – once the CD is made, the memory card is reformatted to be used at the next crime scene.

After retiring to write his decision, Justice Anderson said the CD, album and two fingerprint photos should be admitted as exhibits.

He accepted Mr. Pollard’s evidence that memory cards are reformatted after images are burned onto a CD.

The idea that the card in the camera was the original version of the photos was not correct, he said. If anything, it was the disc onto which the images had been burned that was the original.

The judge said he was satisfied that Mr. Pollard took the photos, he printed them and he submitted them.

He quoted US Federal Rules of Evidence: If data is stored on a computer or similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight, shown to reflect the data accurately, is an original.

Justice Anderson said a digital image downloaded to a computer and subsequently printed would seem to qualify.

After his ruling the next witness was Sgt. Marcia Codner, the scenes-of-crime officer who worked with Mr. Pollard. Her evidence continued Wednesday.