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Expert Status

Discussion of computer forensics employment and career issues.
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see3archie
Newbie
 

Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 13:03

I work for a Law Enforcement Agency that has recently undergone an extensive job evaluation process. In this, the role of Forensic Computer Analyst has been designated as presenting in court but 'not as an expert witness'. There seems to be varying opinions as to whether this is true, and indeed what actually constitutes an 'expert witness'. As my education and training has always lead me to believe that the role of a digital forensic examiner is ultimately to act as an expert witness, I would be very interested to gather any thoughts on whether this is in fact the case.  
 
  

minime2k9
Senior Member
 

Re: Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 13:16

Your profile says that you are in the UK, so I will base my answer on that.

Basically, the newest guidance from the FSR is that all digital investigators are button pushing monkeys and therefore should not be considered 'experts'. She determined all digital methods to be 'measurement' (a horrific ISO 17025 term) and therefore no interpretation is required.

However, outside of that madness, there is no process in the UK for recognizing experts in a digital field. Whereas some fields, such as fingerprints and medical etc, have qualifications or requirements that allow them to be called an expert. This allows them to be presented as an expert witness rather than waiting for the court to recognize them as such.

In my experience, even if I turn up at court and state that there are no formal expert qualifications in our field etc, the judge usually turns around and says "Well you know a great deal more than I do" or something equally witty and then allows me to act as an expert.

As far as your job goes, your force is probably trying to force you down this route to either:
Follow FSR's lead or
Downgrade the post so they don't have to pay you as much.  
 
  

hectic_forensics
Member
 

Re: Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 13:25

In the UK, CPS guidelines advise:

Definition of Expert Witness

An expert witness is a witness who provides to the court a statement of opinion on any admissible matter calling for expertise by the witness and is qualified to give such an opinion.

The Duty of an Expert Witness

The duty of an expert witness is to provide independent assistance to the court by way of objective, unbiased opinion in relation to matters within their expertise. This is a duty that is owed to the court and overrides any obligation to the party from whom the expert is receiving instructions - see R v Harris and others [2005] EWCA Crim.1980



That said I have always felt uncomfortable being seen as an 'Expert Witness' and would never proclaim myself in open Court to be an 'Expert'. If asked by Counsel or a Judge I would insist that I am 'an experienced practitioner with (x) years experience'. Sometimes a judge may declare that for the purposes of a case they consider you to be an expert, in which case fine, it is the judge declaring that, not you.  
 
  

hectic_forensics
Member
 

Re: Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 13:27

- minime2k9
Basically, the newest guidance from the FSR is that all digital investigators are button pushing monkeys and therefore should not be considered 'experts'. She determined all digital methods to be 'measurement' (a horrific ISO 17025 term) and therefore no interpretation is required.


Also. What he said. Laughing Laughing Laughing  
 
  

DCS1094
Senior Member
 

Re: Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 13:29

- minime2k9
Basically, the newest guidance from the FSR is that all digital investigators are button pushing monkeys and therefore should not be considered 'experts'. She determined all digital methods to be 'measurement' (a horrific ISO 17025 term) and therefore no interpretation is required.


Just brilliant! Laughing

So, from my experience in the UK the court will decide whether or not you are to be classed as an expert witness, based on your qualifications, experience and so on... In the past I was requested to sign a disclaimer on MG11 statements to confirm I have read the guidance booklet for Expert Witnesses in the UK to confirm I understood duties.  
 
  

AGP_Analyst
Member
 

Re: Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 15:10

- minime2k9

Basically, the newest guidance from the FSR is that all digital investigators are button pushing monkeys and therefore should not be considered 'experts'. She determined all digital methods to be 'measurement' (a horrific ISO 17025 term) and therefore no interpretation is required.


Do you know which guidance this was included in?  
 
  

jaclaz
Senior Member
 

Re: Expert Status

Post Posted: Feb 05, 19 15:52

This one here:
assets.publishing.serv...r_2014.pdf

Where there is BTW an actual "definition" of expert (witness):

Expert (Witness)
An appropriately qualified and/or experienced person familiar with the testing,
evaluation and interpretation of test or examination results, and recognised by the
court to provide live testimony to the court in the form of admissible hearsay evidence.


among the madness, but "latest" should be:
www.gov.uk/government/...ns-issue-6

The initial part (last sentence) is interesting:

Expert Evidence
Expert evidence is admissible “to furnish the court with scientific information
which is likely to be outside the experience and the knowledge of a judge or
jury”.

In presenting expert evidence the witness’s “duty is to furnish the Judge or jury
with the necessary scientific criteria for testing the accuracy of their conclusions
so as to enable the Judge or jury to form their own independent judgment by the
application of these criteria to the facts proved in evidence”.

This places the expert witness in a privileged position. The nature of the role
requires that the witness comply with certain obligations. Further obligations
have been imposed for the benefit of the Criminal Justice System.

Basic Condition
The above makes clear that expert testimony is only admissible when it is
required.

It is also clear that expert evidence can only be given by a person who is an
expert in the relevant field.


Shocked
But I guess the pearl is here:
www.gov.uk/government/...x_v1.0.pdf

Point 14.2.7 page 19 of 34

A suitable form of words may be as follows.
“My report is based on the results of analytical work undertaken (a) using documented and validated methods within the scope of the organisation’s UKAS ISO 17025 accreditation [lab reference] and (b) by staff determined to be competent for such work under the organisation’s quality systems which are accredited to ISO 17025. This accreditation does/does not cover the assessment and interpretation of evidence.”




jaclaz
_________________
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 
 

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