The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office has . . . a personality. And it’s full of charm.
How else to describe the SFO’s pitch about jazzy evidence presentations?
After we saw the following, we thought maybe the SFO was planning to go into the evidence-presenting business. As in selling the service to other lawyers. We even asked someone at the SFO if that might happen. They haven’t responded yet.
How the SFO is making evidence easier for juries to understand
. . . . . In one case alone last year we gathered around 20 million documents.
But cracking the case is not enough. That is only half of our work. When the case goes to court, we need to prove the crime to the jury. Training and years of experience in analysing complex financial evidence make it easy for us to know that a fraud has taken place. However, we know that it’s not so straightforward for members of the public who find themselves sitting on a jury in an economic crime case. They potentially face weeks and weeks of evidence and legal arguments over issues they are not necessarily familiar with. We also know that we owe it to the victims of the crime to present our evidence in the most compelling way.
So how do we go about this? Our Electronic Presentation of Evidence team – EPE for short – is the answer. This small team has two main roles:
— preparing and serving the evidence electronically
— using special software to display the evidence in court.
Judges and lawyers have already given us their views on EPE. Graphics is one of the most powerful presentational tools we have. Judges and lawyers who can understand and use them effectively are great advocates of EPE. But defence teams are less enthusiastic as good graphics can cause them huge problems. One defence lawyer once told us that his client’s case was really quite good until the graphics were served.
But judge for yourself! The graphics [above] come from our prosecution of Prudential Commercial Investments. They show how money and suspects had been moved around. If you were sitting on the jury, what would you have preferred to do – look through pages of flight bookings to work out who flew where and when, or look at a summary on screen?