A San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has
reportedly ruled that Google Earth's GPS coordinates
in respect of the location of the device user is not hearsay and is
admissable evidence. Instead, admissability should be
determined on the basis of the rules of authentication, considering
reliability and accuracy.
Although this is a U.S. decision, there is a good prospect a
Canadian Court would make a similar determination. Many
provinces have electronic records provisions in their Evidence
Acts. B.C. does not have express provisions but some records
could be admitted as a business record under the B.C. Evidence
Act. See also this article "The Uniform Electronic Evidence Act
Revisited" in Slaw by John Gregory.
In the Paciano Lizarraga-Tirado case, the defendant claimed he
was on the Mexican side of the border when he was arrested by
Border Patrol agents for illegal re-entry into the United States.
An arresting agent recorded the coordinates of the arrest with a
GPS device. Prosecutors introduced electronic evidence of the
location by entering the GPS coordinates into Google Earth,
creating a digital tack on Google Earth's satellite image north
of the border. The defendant raised a hearsay objection,
which was rejected, but did not raise any objection to the
authenticity of GPS coordinates or Google Earth program.
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