Can a google earth satellite image be used in trial?

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Can a google earth satellite image be used in trial?

by: asadzahid on
Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:31 am

I have a trial in a few hours. is it possible to use the satellite view from google earth as a way to explain the intersection very well and also to prove that the officer could not have an unobstructed line of sight to traffic lights from where he/she was parked. Plz reply soon
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by: highwaystar on
Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:21 am

It all depends on the JP. If they apply correct evidence law than the answer is NO. You would need to bring in the Google employee who took the images to authenticate them, confirm it hasn't been doctored, and whether the location is an accurate reflection of the location at the relevant time. Without proper authentication, the image is prejudicial and should be inadmissible since there is no way to know when it was taken, if the location looked the same way on the date of offence, and whether any modifications have been made (i.e. Google often filters out information from their images such as faces, plates, numbers, etc.).

Bottom line: some JP's allow the images to be used to assist a defendant in testifying but the image itself is not admitted into evidence as an exhibit. In that case, the court is NOT suppose to look at the image themselves (only the witness gets to look at it). However, other JPs blur the law of evidence and will look at the photos themselves, or worse yet, admit them into evidence! It doesn't hurt to try your luck----a wise prosecutor will likely object and set out the law. However, other times, even with objections, the JP allows it in. Just keep in mind that if the images ARE admitted into evidence, there is always the possibility that the prosecution appeals the case due to an error of law. That rarely happens, however, that WOULD give them excellent grounds for an appeal. You need to assess whether its worth the risk.
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by: iFly55 on
Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:52 pm

The #1 problem with Google Maps, Earth & Streetview images is that the pictures were taken a long time ago. The intersection you received the offence notice may look different.

Google Earth images can be years old.

I read a decision on CanLII with a driver who received a ticket on the 407ETR for driving by a police vehicle with emergency lights at 105 km/hr. He didn't move over or slow down for the cruiser. Because he took pictures months later, that didn't go too well for him.

R. v. Drljevic, 2010 ONCJ 188 (CanLII)

[48] During the course of his examination in chief, the defendant identified and qualified four photographs of the relevant portion of Highway 407, which he took on July 12th, 2009. Even though these photographs were taken approximately nine months after the time of the alleged offence, the photographs were admitted into evidence as exhibit nos. one to four, on the basis that they would be afforded the appropriate weight given their date.

[57] In making reference to photographic exhibits nos. one and four, the defendant acknowledged that the position of his vehicle in the photographs was just an estimate of the location of the police vehicle stopped at the side of the road at the relevant time. He admitted that he did not take the photographs until approximately nine months after the time of the alleged offence and he acknowledged that his recollection as to the purported location of the police vehicle could have been inaccurate.

It's in your best interest to take the pictures yourself.
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