Jurors in the not-too-distant future could have the opportunity to explore crime scenes in virtual reality, gaining new insight into their circumstances and the ways pieces of evidence fit together. The BBC reports that researchers at England's Staffordshire University have received a £140,000 grant to develop the technology, which could radically alter the way crime scene evidence is presented in court.
At the moment, researchers are still working to develop the best techniques for recording and re-creating crime scenes in VR. They are experimenting with virtual reality headsets, green screens, laser scanning, and drones, as well as technologies used in video gaming and computing. Eventually, the technology could allow jurors to virtually walk around a crime scene, which could give them better insight into how a crime was committed.
Researcher Caroline Sturdy Colls told Legal Cheek that the technology could make it easier for lawyers to explain evidence in court, allowing both prosecutors and defense lawyers more sophisticated tools for arguing their case.
“Traditional means of documenting, sketching and photographing crime scenes can be laborious and they don’t provide data suitable for presentation in court to non-experts,” Sturdy Colls explained. “A number of novel, digital, non-invasive methods used in archaeology, computing and games design present the opportunity to increase search efficiency and accuracy and provide more effective means of presenting evidence in court.”