Digital Evidence: A Practitioner's Handbook

Digital Evidence: A Practitioner's Handbook
Emond Publishing
Page Count:
Publication Date:
November 2017
Criminal Law and Procedure; Criminal Law Series; Evidence and Investigation

General Editors: Brian H. Greenspan and Justice Vincenzo Rondinelli

As technology advances at an exponential rate, the law and practice surrounding digital evidence is in constant flux. Digital Evidence: A Practitioner’s Handbook serves as a clear, concise guide to digital evidence in the criminal context. Authors Gerald Chan and Susan Magotiaux summarize legal principles and provide practical suggestions for Crown and defence lawyers tackling the gathering, admitting, and presenting of this type of evidence.

"Our justice system depends on advocates who understand the subtleties of a new technology and how it fits in with the general principles established by our courts. Nowhere is skilled advocacy more important than in providing the evidential base and in explaining complex technologies in a digestible way. ... This book is an invaluable guide to assist litigators in this task."

— The Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell

This is the first comprehensive text on this facet of law. It is designed to clarify the nuances of the authentication and admissibility of digital evidence, privacy rights, the uses and limits of social media evidence, and the search and seizure of electronic devices. This text also explores the ways in which law enforcement can access digital data in the hands of third parties, including the various powers created by Bill C-13 (Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act).

By addressing both current and emerging challenges related to digital evidence, criminal practitioners will be equipped with the knowledge and understanding required to effectively handle and utilize digital evidence.

This text is Volume 5 in Emond’s Criminal Law Series.

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  • Foreword by the Honourable Thomas Albert Cromwell
  • Checklists detailing various considerations for counsel when presenting or submitting evidence in a digital format
  • Discussion of Bill C-13 Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act
  • Relevant excerpts from the Criminal Code and Canada Evidence Act
  • Chart detailing orders used during an investigation

Part I: Search and Seizure
Chapter 1: Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Digital Data
Chapter 2: Search of Devices
Chapter 3: Accessing Digital Data
Chapter 4: Private Communications

Part II: Disclosure
Chapter 5: Disclosure of Digital Data
Chapter 6: Disclosure in Internet Child Exploitation Cases
Chapter 7: Practical Constraints on Crown and Defence

Part III: Use of Evidence
Chapter 8: Admissibility
Chapter 9: Probative Value
Chapter 10: Courtroom Presentation

"For anyone doing trials or hearings in the digital age, Digital Evidence: A Practitioner’s Handbook is an indispensable aid.

Whether a proceeding is in the criminal, regulatory or civil realm, more and more of the evidence is in digital format: texts, social media postings, electronic copies of videos and photos, medical records, Blackberry PINs—the list goes on. But even as the number of documents in a typical proceeding has increased exponentially, counsel’s obligations to marshal the evidence, to address issues of privilege, authenticity, admissibility and relevance, and to assess the probative value of the evidence has not been altered. Not only are counsel challenged to identify, gather and present a greater number of documents than ever before, but the evidence is also increasingly in unfamiliar formats. Where these formats are digital, Chan and Magotiaux have counsel’s back.”

Read the full review here.

—Lonny J. Rosen, CS
Excerpt from The Advocates' Journal, Fall 2018

"The authors of Digital Evidence have achieved a remarkable feat: they have successfully married the practical and the theoretical in this difficult and emerging area of the law. With procedural guidance, practical tips and substantive law from the early investigative stage to the courtroom steps, this book is an invaluable reference for any practitioner. The even-handed approach of the authors provides a true how-to guide to digital evidence for either Crown or defence counsel."

—Cameron Gunn, QC

"The book is, frankly, a much-needed resource for practitioners who appear in courtrooms on criminal matters. Given the slow pace of technological advances in the criminal courts, lawyers are often tasked with the role of educating judges with respect to novel issues in digital evidence. And when the issue may be novel to the lawyer themselves, it is critical to know what questions to ask."

Read the full review here.

—Anne-Marie McElroy, Criminal Defence Lawyer
Excerpt from McElroy Blog

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Prices and Formats

Digital Evidence: A Practitioner's Handbook

Format: Print
Cover: Softcover
Colour: Two Colour
Status: Available

Price: $115.00

Digital Evidence: A Practitioner's Handbook Emond Reader ebook (Lifetime Access)

Format: Digital
Cover: Online
Colour: Two Colour
Status: Available

Price: $104.00

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