Using Ubiquitous Technology to Fight Crime

the greatest value of such recordings to any court system is that they can lead to out-of-court settlements

…the greatest value of such recordings to any court system is that they can lead to out-of-court settlements…

In 2011 Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite indicated the roadblocks to allow video recording of interviews between police and accused persons should be removed. Two years later BU is aware those roadblocks have NOT been removed. Recently the question was asked in this forum why with the proliferation of mobile devices equipped to record audio and video such devices are not being utilized in crime fig

hting and its prevention in Barbados.

Section (20) 1 of the Barbados Constitution addresses a person’s right to communicate ideas and information without interference and freedom from interference with his correspondence or other means of communication EXCEPT for the prevention of crime or national security. There is a paucity of legislation in Barbados which addresses how mobile devices can be used in crime fighting. It is instructive to note in larger countries like the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, “evidence” recorded on devices such as computers and mobile phones, whether video or just audio is admissible in a court of law under certain conditions.

Research reveals courts tend to treat videotapes as photographs and hold them to the same verification protocols. The objections to their admission that must be considered by the courts are:

Related Link: Evidence Act 2007

  • The contents of the audio visual, absent the presence and testimony of a witness, may be hearsay.

  • Is there a legally acceptable foundation laid for the audio visual?

  • Is there a link between the audio visual and the case at bar?

  • Is the audio visual probative, or merely cumulative and prejudicial?

  • Is the audio visual representative of what it purports to portray?

  • Is the audio visual of a sufficient quality not to confuse and mislead?

For a judge to accept audio visual evidence, it must be shown that:

  • A witness is produced who can testify as to the conditions under which the recording was made – date, time, place, conditions etc.

  • The audio visual will save the time of the court and avoid such procedures as visits outside the court etc.

  • If a jury is involved, the judge may wish to limit its exposure to certain parts of the audio visual.

The provenance of the audio visual recording must then be considered. It must be established the date, time and place of the recording, the identity of the parties recorded, the equipment used for the recording, the procedures used, the chain of custody of the recording etc.

In the case of audiotapes the transcript must be prepared by a court reporter and a copy of transcript and recording sent to opposing counsel giving them adequate time to study same and advise on corrections. provides a fairly clear indication of how it works, no need for Barbados to reinvent the wheel. The need to be cautious when using audio and video evidence is obvious. It can be altered and it would require an expert at significant expense to verify if recordings made on iPhones, BlackBerrys and the like have (or not) been tampered with. The chances for miscarriages of justice are just great, unless there are stringent rules.

However, the greatest value of such recordings to any court system is that they can lead to out-of-court settlements, saving the time of the court. And also there is the enormous value to the Police in cases requiring criminal prosecution. In the end, however, the admissibility (or not) of such evidence is in the court’s discretion, although a decision to exclude the evidence may be appealed.

BU invite all and sundry to add to this important debate.

46 thoughts on “Using Ubiquitous Technology to Fight Crime

  1. Yes, police interviews of suspects should be routinely recorded. It protects the police in respect of bogus claims of brutality and equally serves to protect an accused. Increasingly accused persons are disowning confession statements on the standard ground they were obtained by duress. Indeed, there’s a thriving industry at Dodds now to teach remand prisoners how to ‘confess and avoid’ their written statements which are, on the face, unimpeachable.

    There is no obvious difficulty in receiving evidence of text messages on mobile phones or information recorded on the computer. This is, as the writer says, standard fare in the UK.

    Ditto the use of security camera evidence. That evidence forms part of the fisculus of evidence. The recording may be unclear or may not pinpoint an accused person conclusively, eg because it’s a back view.

    As the Sterling case demonstrates, I am less clear about privately recorded evidence for the purposes of legal proceedings. But I wish the writer had explored more this aspect and the idea of ‘out of court settlements’. There’s quite possibly a very thin line between self-protection and blackmail.

  2. @Ross. I agree. Well put. And I agree with the author, to the extent he/she goes.

    You raise a very important point. All Police interrogations should be recorded on video. The results of not doing so are becoming just as you point out. It is obvious that such recording protects both sides. The suspect/accused from duress and the Police from seeing a confession recanted. The Constitution speaks to “prevention” of crime. Could this be the reason interrogations are not recorded? This is not a subject in which I have much experience, so I would be most grateful if you would enlighten me. If the word “prevention” is a barrier, a constitutional change ought to receive cross-party agreement and be even simpler than the most recent change of “Commonwealth” to “common law” that allowed the appointment of the Chief Justice.

    Also, in the case of civil law, given the proliferation of recording devices, both audio and video, what are your views on the introduction of rules governing the admissibility of such evidence? It is clear that such evidence, properly regulated, would have the effect of either assisting the courts, or leading to early settlement – and I do recognise the possibility of the blackmail element.

    My main concern, however, is not on how the law feeds into this, but how it is likely to affect normal social intercourse. I believe that most people will find it uncomfortable to socialise, if they think that their casual, social conversations are being recorded. Have a few Mount Gay XOs at a party that loosen your tongue and indulge in our favourite national pursuit (not cricket, but gossip) and then find out that when you were talking other people’s business, it was being recorded? No thanks! Social intercourse dead!!!

    • @Amused

      Have a discussion with the men in blue who do the dirty work and they will confide that IF they are not able to threaten or ‘deliver’ violence these crackheads responsible mainly for roberies will NOT confess. Not saying it is right but it is what it is.

  3. @Robert Ross
    You mean it protects innocent until proven guilty, citizens from a thug force, who being so devoid of actual policing skills, resort to the brutish and abominable behavior that they are to be protecting same citizens from. Why do you think the equipment to record interviews and interrogations is daily becoming obsolete, and dry rotting in police stations across the island. Stupse all some people know is a can of BOP and plastic wrap, no damn training.

  4. Ross
    Video as well as audio recording protects both police and accused, that’s a given. However, you have failed to acknowledged the fact that an accused can still be intimidated by law enforcement prior to his or her interrogation. So that is why in most states in the US an accused is vedio tapped from the time he or she is placed in the police car and continually in police custody. See Miranda v. Arizona: In this landmark case, “The court held that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self incrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them.” Barbados probably need such a law or the people obviously need to be properly informed if it does already.

  5. Dompey:

    Do not be fooled. In the US taping is turned off and law enforcement officers find other ways around their need to unfair ordinary citizens.

  6. What is this now?
    A conference of lawyers and Dompey? …….and wunna here restating the obvious….
    OF COURSE police actions should be videotaped and kept for the records….technology is now such that each policeman can wear a camera as long as he/she is on duty ……such data can ONLY redound to improved efficiency, transparency, protection for everyone and fairness…..

    So the REAL QUESTION THEN (which wunna seem to be avoiding so far) is why is it so difficult to do it in Barbados…….

    Is it because LAWYERS benefit from the confusion and delays that currently exists and which would largely go away with such a change?

    Is it that our lawyers are so incompetent – except where it comes to banding together to thief PLANTATION’s land – that such a change is beyond them?

    Is it that such videotaping would make it MUCH MORE DIFFICULT for back room deals to be made to protect LODGE brothers, big-ups and fellow lawyers when their names are called by interviewees?

    ….or is it just that Adriel Brathwaite is as incompetent as he looks?

    ….imagine the man saying to police officers that he (The AG and responsible legal officer for the Force) is POWERLESS to resolve a two-year-old dispute about promotions….?
    How can a man admit his impotence in public and still continue to draw a huge salary when the month come?
    Wuh shiite….if he can’t decide about promotions how the hell could he EVER deal with cameras…?

    If HE is powerless, then who the hell’s job is it to resolve the issue?
    …..this place is the world center of brass bowlery……

    • @Bush Tea

      Did you also hear the acting CoP lamenting the inability of the force to promote 100 plus officers? Then he not so subtly mentioned the death of T&T’s lawyer recently shot and calls my some in Barbados asking for protection. It is all coming together.

    • The excuse given by CJ Gibson is that many of our police station have too rotten an infrastructure to install the equipment and have the space required. Of course it does not explain why it cannot be done at the modern stations at Oistins, Station Hill etc.

  7. Think about this.Cell phones are being replaced by Smart phones that have high resolution video cameras.

    Video cameras and cctv cameras produce tv/movie quality video.

    There will be no turning the clock back on technology. Every house and every building will have security cameras

    The Police don’t need to beat confessions out of criminals. It is just saves them time when it works.

  8. Having read the article in the papers by Commissioner Griffith one must wonder what is the true position why the promotion case which is before the court cannot be resolved……
    It’s clear that there is an easy solution to it because the amount of vacancies that exist. Promote all concerned then put things in place for it not to happen again.
    We must agree that the whole matter began with the misunderstanding between Hinds and Dottin. The two are no longer there so why would the authorities want to continue with everything possible to keep the Force in turmoil?
    The AG spoke to Barbados having one of the better Forces in this region…… Why do we want to risk destabilizing this?
    As you can see association with Trade Unions is popping up…. There must be a reason for that.
    Anyway……that matter can be solved at the snap of one man’s fingers. More than likely one of the doors knocked on by the COP.

  9. I am wondering why any agency in Barbados would consider security at taxpayers expense for any these political figures posing as public officials who willfully and with extreme malice put themselves in harms through their intake of bribes etc.

    It’s funny they have no problem trying to use facebook to solve a crime in Barbados, still laughing at that, but have a problem with videotaping police interviews., the S4 and even Blackberry are wonderful recording tools, low maintenance and would be perfect hooked up to a computer.

    Like Dumbville, the AG’s soul mate, they are both SO

  10. David the problem is that everything in Barbados must be evaluated to see how much contractors can “get out of the deal”.

    Barbados Government is like NASA where a screwdriver cost $700 if you get my drift.

    It should less than $20,000 Barbados dollars to renovate a room and install a 4 camera system with a DVR and internet access but we all know that you have to multiply that by 4 if it is a Government contract.

  11. We Bajans are experts at finding ways to do nothing except when we live overseas where we must do a proper job or get fired.


    Ask ex COP Dottin for the recordings of late night calls to Violet Beckles .end ex CJ Simmons

  13. Hants said:
    “It should less than $20,000 Barbados dollars to renovate a room and install a 4 camera system with a DVR and internet access but we all know that you have to multiply that by 4 if it is a Government contract.”

    And what’s even more sickening and disgraceful, all the government ministers and leader of the opposition WANT THEIR CUT>….well hell!!

  14. As long as you are calling for cameras on the police, can we get them on lawyers too and doctors and everyone else? Can we please put them on the doctors while they are operating so everyone can see the mistakes they make?

    Why is it that the police must be held to be 100% accountable and cannot make a mistake and no one else is? As human beings first, even though trained, anyone can make a mistake at any time and this should not allow accused persons to walk free or police to be fired for making errors in judgement during split second decisions.

    Because I see where the whole camera on duty thing is going. While everyone else gets months and years to analyze, examine, replay, rewind the actions of the police in the situation they faced and ridicule his decision at the time, he doesn’t have that luxury. And his perception cannot be judged by what is analyzed on a camera over a period of months by experts. The camera will record it exactly as it happened. But the human eye and brain will not see it or process it the way the camera recorded.

    • @Posh

      Are the cameras meant to be on the police or more on protecting the integrity of the process of determining justice.

    • This is another interesting comment from a minister of the Crown. Because Paradise is a private property the authorities have been unable to secure it?

      Earlier this week we heard the AG and CoP stressing about their helplessness to push the police promotions case which is stuck in the Courts. What makes it more ridiculous is that Bertie Hinds and Darwin Dottin are no longer with the police force.

      God help us!

  15. @David | May 16, 2014 at 5:33 AM | My old mother used to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” People under duress or pain will eventually admit to anything, but it is rarely the truth. It is the job of the Police and the courts to get to the truth and what is tantamount to torture merely provides the torturers with what they want to hear. Also, a confession obtained under duress and torture cannot be allowed to stand in a court of law in any civilised nation and those practices will ultimately, if revealed, expose us to the odium and sanctions (financial and trade) of the nations that support us. Human rights breaches attract serious international repercussions. And it is right they should. How in hell can we expect to advance a claim for reparations, when we ourselves are breaching human rights?

  16. There is no good reason for the police to beat an accused person.

    Good detectives can solve crimes using proven techniques.

    Barbados used to have good detectives who took pride in their investigative skills.

    Ever heard of Slater Vinsky,Dick turk.

  17. @ Hants
    There is no good reason for the police to beat an accused person.
    You hitting that scotch again Hantsie?
    There are plenty good reasons why certain accused need to have the police buss their donkeys….

    • some damn persons have to sort out those idiots who think that THEY are the big bullies in society……
      Who do you suggest? …Dear Christine? ..the DPP? ….Adriel?
    • Which do you prefer? The Police having a reputation as bullies……or the Mark Young types?

    We can’t have our cake and eat it too… LIFE IS HARD…and then you die….tough choices are needed……this is why MEN are needed.

    …you mind Ross with his “live and let live” gay philosophy….just like in a good western, there is always peace in town when the sheriff is the fastest gun and the baddest fists…..
    Mek Ross the sheriff – and you KNOW that all the bad boys doing as they like ….especially with the girls like SSS, Islandgal and simple simon…….ac safe though…bad boys don’t mess with the devil…. 🙂

    Put Bushie as sheriff …..good men pissing their pants….bad men messing theirs with the solid stuff… 🙂
    ….wunna think Bushie’s whacker easy nuh…?

  18. @Bushie beating prisoners is a short cut to save time and resources.
    Good investigative and interrogative techniques can achieve the same result.
    How about those who are innocent but confess because of intimidation.

  19. David the owners of Paradise should provide their own security.

    It does not make sense to send 6 policemen and a van to guard a private property.

  20. it is discussions such as these that highlights how totally backward Barbados is and would continue to show the world that we are still a third world country.

    this video recording have been debated for over 20 years and it is still being debated, NOTHING has been done. also the breathalyzer test has been debated back and forth for over 24 years and is still being debated. do u people really think police video recording will be done here? sometime in the next 20 years when more modern technology would be on the market. those in authority in Barbados relish and hold on the idea that we are third world island and must have a third world mentality inspite of what ever technology comes on stream

  21. …..good investigative techniques LOL ….nothing beats fear…you must watch 48 hrs… the end result is always whoever talks first gets the best deal, appealing to a persons conscious to confess only works when they know you have them trapped with no way out. You and Dopey talking about the innocent being convicted today they are few and far between. Then again who cares…. it is just like cars on the road ….yeah there will be a few accidents but the majority of the people will make it home okay.

  22. Hants

    Are you talking about the 1950’s, with respect to your comment about good detectives? I was born and bred just behind District A Police Station, during the middle 60’s and never have I heard of such names even mentioned in conversation in my entire association with the police at District A.

    Now, I am not proud to say that I saw quite a few bad boys getting their asses cut up at District A back in the day. And their probably deserved it because of the kind of Hell they brought to bear upon the little island of Barbados.

    Now, Hants, I know of two techniques the CID used back in the day beside a good ass beating to obtain the bad boys to confess.

    The guys at the CID used to sit the bad boys in chair with a hole in the center. Naked of course, so that their balls hung through a hole in the center of the chair.

    And then my buddies at CID would wrap a piece of cord around a bottle as well as the bad boys balls, while the bottle and they balls hung through the hole in the middle of the chair at the same time.

    And the guys would slowly add water to the bottle increasing the pressure on the balls. Confession was instant brother but this was old old school CID.

    But in the 1980’s, the bad boys at the CID would revolutionized the technique, by placing bad boys on a table and beating them under their feet with a hammer, to prevent bruising and to avoid visible marks. Confession took sometime but it came eventually!

    The electrical shock which Peter Bradshaw claimed the CID administered to gain a confession, I have never heard off.

    • @Hants

      The authorities know of crime in the environs of Paradise but because it is a private concern we have to ignore criminal activity down there. Here is a folish question, who owns Paradise?

  23. Bushie and Lawson you have a point.

    The Police should have beaten confessions out of Bjerkham and Mark Goodridge..

    Problem is duh does only beat black people in babadus cause de bruises does not show.

    Now instead of writing shite and wastin my time on BU I gine out fuh brekfuss.

  24. Dompey

    Festina lente sed festina.


    You are a thug – but you have Island’s ear, if nothing else, so I suppose you can’t be all bad.

  25. Hants things can be figured out quite easily through the process of deduction….if your drug dealer shows up on time then it is the police…

  26. Hants
    We may not all agree with the tactics some members of the Royal Barbados Police Force employs to obtain their confessions. But if it is done in the name of public safety, I am all for it. Yes, police back in the day used brute force as a tactic to maintain law and order in Barbados, but it keep us safety. So in this respect, we have to measure the method employed against the results achieved. Now,the criminal elements the police deal with on a daily basis, aren’t necessarily the most outstanding citizens, but this in itself, still does not give the police a license to abuse them. This much I know.
    In a nutshell… as someone who have been around the police and the criminal elements their dealt with in pursue of their obligation. I can tell you unequivocally: that there are some people out there in the general public, who would not think twice about harming a police in the worse possible way. Now unfortunately, I have met many of them during my association with the police at District A. And I have saw police friends of mine, beaten, shot, stabbed and occasionally killed by the criminal element. I remembered quite vividly, when one of my Mounted buddy was shot in the leg, up at the National Stadium one dreadful night back in the 1980’s. I also recalled with great horror, when another good friend of mine was stabbed in the shoulder by a bad boy around the Bush Hall area etc. So until you wear the uniform, it’s best that you reserve your critique of these brave men as women of the Royal Barbados Police Force.

  27. Ah well..and there goes David asking who owns Barbados and why they cannot arrest, try, convict anyone even if things are stolen from private properties funded by TAXPAYERS FRIGGING MONEY.

    Not even i believed Worrell would be sanctioned, who the hell would have the nerve, ain’t he DLP member ain’t he adviser to PM Stuart, this is cover up…it’s sad that they keep making the island a goddamn laughing stock, but, there you have it.


    Well Well @
    No sanctions for Worrell? That is good from out point of FACTS, Nothing they can do nothing, when we knew then, what they are saying now,
    There can be no sanctions for telling the Truth , as Well as PLANTATION DEEDS , WE are Glad that he is telling what was hidden by the BLP from and before 1997, We see the results of the Fraud and waste Today , With the IMF , Moodys,S&P,and World Bank now knowing there is no clear title to land, and pull their money like the IDB did of $60,000,000.00 for 2000 families in the City.
    We stand by what we know to be true , until someone or group comes with more credible Information, We now hope people will stop looking at parties and look at the facts and the Numbers of the Audit General reports and see the facts and what was not done with the Billions of Dollars VAT took in.

  29. Lol @ Hants
    Hope you enjoyed breakfast. Life is complex and wisdom is elusive…. Don’t worry your head too much bout these complex issues….just note that those societies that ban the rod by parents and teachers – end up needing police to use that rod….and those that ban the police from using the rod have to invest in SWAT teams…. …and by then is is too late to avoid investing in riot squads and national guard troops…

    @ Ross
    You are right again…
    Bushie is a thug….
    Fortunately for everyone, he is one of BBE’s thugs….so you have no need to fear the bushman – just keep clear of the whacker… 🙂

    There is a way that SEEMS right to ordinary folks…but the end thereof is the way of death and destruction….

  30. My view on police beating is fairly simple…..
    Keep out of their way and you will have no problem at all.
    If the criminals don’t fear the police then the criminal will drive fear in the hearts of the law abiding citizens.
    From observing I’m of the view that Barbadians are leaning more and more on the criminal side. That’s the reason for all the anti-police behavior and comments.
    @ David
    The Gov is buying time dragging along the case, to settle the case means paying out a few dollars in back money.

  31. @ Posh who said…
    As long as you are calling for cameras on the police, can we get them on lawyers too and doctors and everyone else? Can we please put them on the doctors while they are operating so everyone can see the mistakes they make?
    Why is it that the police must be held to be 100% accountable and cannot make a mistake and no one else is?
    Since no one answered your good question, ….Bushie will do so Mr. Posh….cause it is important.
    The reason why police SHOULD be videotaped – as opposed to doctors, lawyers etc…is actually VERY simple….and it is NOT that the video should be made public…..but be available to authorities who can judge the FACTS of errors of judgement, inexperience, justified use of force (including cutting the asses of bad boys and girls whose stupid parents neglected to do so) for what it is worth.

    But here is the DIFFERENCE….a doctor or lawyer CANNOT walk into Bushie’s house and carry out an operation or take Bushie papers….
    ….neither of these can stop Bushie on the road and search his car, claim to find something illegal and arrest Bushie….
    …neither can use force LEGALLY if Bushie refuses to comply with their instructions…

    Bushie has to CHOOSE to allow those charlatans to do what they do best…. BUT…Police are like teachers…in loco parentis….and can do practically what the hell they like….

    Policemen are therefore SPECIAL people who should be held to special standards – and also given SPECIAL privileges and leeway…..

  32. Man Georgep, Ha Ha Ha ….dum special…..not meaning ‘better than anyone else’, but perhaps having a special calling….

    Anyone who has responsibility for law and order, and the authority to enforce – it has to be seen as “special”.
    …same thing with parents, teachers, certain government officials etc…
    …which is why when they F- up, it should be lightning and thunder in their asses….

    If we applied that to doctors and lawyers we would have storms every day…..all day long…. 🙂

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