Esther is a Senior Policy Adviser and prosecutor based at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) HQ Policy Directorate, London. Esther specializes in internet and computer enabled crime, digital evidence, intellectual property crime and data protection. In January 2002 Esther became the project manager for the CPS High-Tec Crime Project. Esther has advised prosecutors at all levels within HQ and Area CPS offices, police and other Government bodies. Esther presently acts as a consultant to other prosecutors in cybercrime cases. Esther developed and designed the CPS national cybercrime training course for prosecutors and as a result, the CPS presently has over 120 cybercrime specialists. Esther regularly speaks on cybercrime issues at conferences and training sessions nationally and internationally. Esther is a Council of Europe cybercrime expert and she has carried out a number of cybercrime training sessions internationally on behalf of the Council of Europe.
In 2010 Esther received a Certificate of Merit award from the International Association of Prosecutors for initiating and developing the Global Prosecutors E-Crime Network (GPEN) which is an on-line information sharing network to help solve cybercrime around the world. In 2012 Esther received the Chairs NBCPA Excellence Award in recognition of her work on cybercrime.
Digital Evidence for a Successful Prosecution
It is widely recognised that e-crime is the most rapidly expanding form of criminality and knows no borders. One thing we can be sure of is that criminals are networking efficiently on the internet and committing crimes that cause great harm to our societies. They do not see any geographical borders and neither does the technology.
We will discuss how to deal with some of the challenges set out below that prosecutors and investigators dealing with cybercrime cases face:
- Cybercrimes are not only transnational and technical, but also must be quickly investigated as traces and evidence in cyber space can easily disappear.
- A major challenge is that the volume of the evidence collected and stored can create implications for search and seizure procedures. Especially when you consider the overwhelming amount of material available that has the potential to be used evidentially.
- Material will also be obtained during the course of the investigation, which will ultimately not be used in evidence. This ‘unused material’ might include material which may either undermine the prosecution case or assist the defence case.
- Resources are limited and cases have to be manageable, at the same time the prosecutor will want to produce sufficient evidence to support charges that reflect a defendant’s criminality and allow for an appropriate sentence. Whilst ensuring that the defendant has a fair trial.