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Case Study: IT Group instructed to conduct cell site analysis of a Blackberry device

Posted: 01-Dec-2015 12:13:34
Author: IT Group

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IT Group received instructions to conduct cell site analysis of a mobile device. The suspect had been identified by a police office as leaving the crime scene.

IT Group was asked to provide evidence that the defendant was not in the area at the time of the offence, and therefore could not have been involved in the assault.  


Executive Summary

The Blackberry mobile phone belonged to an individual accused of an assault in a local town; the suspect had been identified by a police officer as leaving the crime scene. IT Group's experts were asked to carry out cell site analysis of the phone in order to provide evidence that the defendant was not in the area at the time of the offence.

The Challenges

IT Group's experts looked at cell site activity related to the phone number belonging to the device, and with the use of specialist network monitoring equipment they could carry out measurement analysis of geographical areas. The experts could then provide their findings through an in-depth report, geographical diagrams and call data records.

Upon conducting the cell site analysis, IT Group's experts could report on the mobile phone and the location of the defendant even though the phone was not used to make or receive calls around the time of the offence. As the nature of Blackberry's service is that is it always connected to the network to enable data services (such as email and internet), a connection which uses similar cell sites to those seen in mobile phone call data records is provided. These cell identifications are recorded by the network, along with the latitude and longitude of each cell's location with a postcode. This in turn meant that IT Group's experts could provide a clear indication of the mobile phone’s whereabouts.

Results

IT Group’s report found that the defendant was likely to have been in the area of his girlfriend’s house and then later at his own home; a significant distance from the crime scene at the time of the offence. The cell site reports were additionally consistent with a statement made by the defendant that he was travelling some distance from the crime scene. They showed that specific cell site IDs in the area of the crime scene did not appear in the data records of the handset used by the defendant. 

IT Group's experts expanded the time frame around the time of the offence and were able to show that the device had been connected to the cell ID earlier in the evening, thereby demonstrating that it was likely that the cell site was in service on that day, further supporting the defendant’s alibi.

On presentation of IT Group’s expert report, the charges were dropped.


To download a copy of the case study click here

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