Aug 5, 2019 by Foresight

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

When a crime is committed, witness statements and police evidence may not be enough to confirm or challenge an accusation. Indeed, with a diminishing budget and ever-growing pressures on police departments, it is increasingly integral that criminal defence solicitors source and collect as much evidence as possible. Particularly in light of recent high profile cases where failure to disclose evidence has caused near-crisis in the justice system, additional evidence can be a vital component in preventing the miscarriage of justice. In a criminal defence case, this evidence may be in the form of CCTV analysis, IT analysis, or as we will focus on in today’s article, cell site analysis. As providers of the most skilled cell site analysis expert witnesses, we know first-hand how important cell site data is to a criminal defence case. We share why, and how it works, below.

What is Cell Site Analysis?

Mobile phone masts enable mobile devices to maintain signal whether or not the device is being used at the time. The mobile phone mast is the cell site. Each time a mobile device connects to a mobile phone mast, data is collected and stored. This is referred to as a cell data record (CDR). The data collected covers the time and date of connection to the specific cell site, communication with other devices and the duration of communication, whether the communication was inbound or outbound, the device’s IMEI number and phone number. With a cell site analysis expert witness providing the solicitor with access to this invaluable and complex information, they can significantly strengthen a criminal defence case.

Tracking Geographical Location with Cell Site Analysis

By analysing the time and date at which a mobile device connects to a cell site, it is possible to determine the movements of the device owner. By assessing the time an individual is connected to a particular cell site and the speed at which they move to the next, a cell site analysis expert witness can determine not only the geographical location of the individual, but the mode of transportation during that time. This evidence may be crucial in confirming whether or not the accused can be placed at the site of the crime when it was committed. Geographical mapping with cell site analysis can also be used to confirm or disprove an alibi.

Cell Site Analysis and Criminal Justice

A cell site analysis expert witness can do more than identify the geographical location of a mobile device. The data collected by the cell site expert witness may uncover a larger criminal organisation that is responsible for the crime. It might be that the accused is a small cog within a criminal network, or that they have been scapegoated for a crime they didn’t commit. Call sequencing in particular may uncover accomplices or alibies that had been missed by the initial police investigation. Written into an accessible report with detailed breakdowns of the cell site analysis, a solicitor can use the new evidence to build their case. In court, the cell site analysis report may be shared so that the court is informed of all necessary evidence from the defence before making their final decision.

For a criminal defence solicitor, cell site analysis can prove invaluable in their pursuit of fair trial and criminal justice. At Foresight Clinical Services we are proud to provide cell phone analysis in addition to cell site analysis. Whilst cell site analysis can be used to track location and call sequencing, cell phone analysis involves collecting specific data held on the phone, such as images sent and received, video and audio files, and text and SMS messages sent and received. Alongside cell site analysis, this evidence may substantially strengthen a criminal defence case. Get in touch with our dedicated case managers today to appoint an expert witness for your case or to learn more about our services.


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