How Many Cell Site Analysis Experts Are There?


You may be surprised to know that there are probably more unqualified cell site analysis ‘experts’ preparing reports than there are qualified ones, in our opinion that is. How do we know this? We see it day in, day out in courts nationwide and as real experts we can give an opinion!

Cell site analysis is currently an unregulated area of digital forensics. Therefore anyone can give this type of evidence in court. You are most likely familiar with the fact that much of the cell site analysis evidence served on you may be produced by either a police officer or analyst. They will usually say that they are ‘not an expert’ within their witness statement, which in itself is not a problem. This means that they can therefore only give ‘evidence of fact’ and are not allowed to give ‘evidence of opinion’ in relation to cell site analysis.

In many cases, especially ones where the defence have not instructed their own cell site analysis expert these ‘in-house experts’ go unchallenged when giving ‘evidence of fact’. The problem is, as one of our experts saw in court recently is that much of what is given as factual evidence is incorrect. It is often the case that ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’.  We find it worrying that this can and does happen on a regular basis. Add to this the fact that there are now more unqualified ‘experts’ than qualified ones giving evidence for defence teams then it is unsurprising that much of what is said in court is incorrect.

Cell site analysis is a highly complex type of evidence which does of course need to be presented in a non-complex way where possible in order that it can be understood by the jury. Obviously, you may think, unqualified staff are a lot less expensive than qualified ones. When the defence solicitor applies for a number of quotes from cell site analysis companies there is usually a huge difference in the experts backgrounds and also a difference in the costs. When quotes are sourced from companies with similarly qualified experts then there is usually not a great deal of difference in the cost.

If cell site analysis evidence forms a crucial part of the prosecution case then it is imperative that you try to retain the services of a suitably qualified expert to act for your clients best interests. This is more important now than ever, as 2017 has seen a couple of reputable cell site analysis companies close down or scale down their operations. Probably in part due to cheaper non-qualified experts being used as a result of financial constraints being enforced by the Legal Aid Agency. Accordingly a number of the newly available recognised experts have been taken on as cell site experts for the police. While this may be advantageous for the prosecution, the defence teams need to make sure that their cell site analysis expert challenging the evidence, can do so with credibility.