Oct 22, 2019 by Foresight

How Can Cell Site Analysis Impact Your Case?

From eyewitnesses to CCTV images, ANPR data to police evidence – there are many components needed to paint a convincing picture of evidence. With almost 8 in 10 adults using a smartphone in today’s society, cell site analysis has become a regular component in criminal investigations and has been used to confirm the location of a suspect, as well as prove a motive and confirm or challenge an alibi.

Cell site analysis recognises where data was used, when it was used and who used it – and as multiple mobile phones are usually present at the scene of a crime, cell site data can provide a vital, convincing piece of evidence in a criminal investigation and have a significant impact on a legal case.

How Cell Site Analysis Identifies Geographical Location

Whether you use your mobile phone to make a call, send a text or search the internet, it sends signals to a cell site, also known as a mobile phone mast, and creates a call data record (CDR). As each cell site has several antennae with a unique cell ID, a person’s location at the time of the call can easily be identified. Some cell sites range up to 35 kilometres while others are less than 100 metres. This is because in areas with higher populations there are more cell sites in order to ensure good service. Less built up areas may have only one cell site to serve a wider area which is why the results of cell site analysis in these locations are less accurate.

How is Cell Site Analysis Used to Track the Movement of Suspects?

When a call is made, it is transferred to different cells. As the first and last cell ID used to make a communication is recorded, the distance between these two cells can indicate if a suspect was travelling; this helps investigators to trace a suspect’s movements before and after a crime was committed. Not only that, by assessing the time an individual is located near a particular cell site – as well as the speed at which they move to the next – a cell site analysis expert witness can determine the mode of transportation at that time.

How Does Cell Site Analysis Work in a Criminal Defence Case?

Cell site analysis can do more than identify the geographical location of a mobile device – in fact, when it comes to criminal defence, cell site analysis can prove to be invaluable in the pursuit of a fair trial and criminal justice. The data collected by one of Foresight’s Cell Site Analysis Expert Witnesses could uncover a larger criminal organisation that is responsible for the crime, reveal that the accused is a small cog within a criminal network, or that they have been scapegoated for a crime they didn’t commit.

Cell Site Analysis in Real Investigations

Knowing the whereabouts of a suspect can be crucial to painting a picture of evidence and proving or disproving an alibi – this was the case for the murder conviction of Adnan Syed and the capture of the 2005 London Tube bombers.

In 2000, the popular podcast Serial brought attention to the 1999 murder trial of Adnan Syed. Cell phone evidence was a crucial part of his conviction as it was used to place Syed near the location where the victim, Hae Min Lee, was found.

In 2005, the police caught the failed July 21st London Tube bombers and a large part in catching them was their mobile phones. They achieved this by tracing the suspects’ movements from phone call and data signals. This allowed police and intelligence services to piece together who was in the terror cell, when and how they’d communicated with each other, and where they were.

Contact Foresight for the Ideal Cell Site Analysis Expert Witness

As a leading provider of Cell Site Analysis Experts, Foresight will find the ideal expert for your legal case. Upon instruction, our dedicated team will supply a fully itemised quote and a selection of expert CVs within 24 hours. Our experienced Case Managers will brief the expert, monitor case progression and make sure expert reports are received on time and to budget.


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