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Can Expert Witnesses Testify in Virtual Reality Cases?

Virtual reality is through devices, software and online interfaces which make cases and claims against these crimes difficult to pull off with the strongest evidence. However, some expert witnesses have been hired to testify either on behalf of or against those using these virtual reality interfaces where a crime has occurred or where injury was sustained.

Virtual reality is found in equipment that utilizes software and an internet connection or some sort of game or program that plays through an interface. The simulation is lifelike, cartoonish or more game than realistic depending on who has created it. When connected to a network or through an internet connection, it is possible to commit a crime. This usually entails an injury to the person behind the interface or someone connected could experience a theft of personal information. Sometimes, a profile is created to start using the program, and those behind the goggles, headpiece or set are harmed through identity or other types of theft.

Adapting to new technology, new implementations of electronics and adjusting to the ever-expanding internet and networks around the world is required for experts, lawyers and the courts for certain crimes. An expert is
hired to decrease or eliminate the confusion and frustration when going after someone that committed a crime or has harmed another through use of virtual reality. These experts understand the technology and how it could affect others. Analysis and examination of the scene and evidence may prove beneficial and could lead to a break in the case. Then, the expert may explain what occurred and how the tech was used to injury another.

Virtual and Augmented Reality in the Courtroom

While crimes with virtual reality are possible, advances in technology permit the judge and jury to see and experience a crime scene or testimony through these interfaces. It is possible to view and understand more complex subject matter through these experiences that are often more confusing than seeing and experiences with virtual or augmented reality. The use of these electronics will heavily depend on the knowledge and skills of the expert witness, and this could provide a new and effective use of technology to propel the case further and faster than is standard with complicated material.

Virtual reality is used to simulate an experience and may cause the judge and jury to feel as if they are experiencing the incident in real time and as if they were there. They are involved in the environment, and while the technology is usually reserved for entertainment, it may prove educational in this manner. The 360-degree visual experience permits the user of the headset to view everything around him or her when immersed within the scene. With special software, the expert may show the patterns and connections to certain evidence. It is often possible to reconstruct the incident from the beginning through the use of this method.

Applying Virtual Reality in the Courtroom

Whether the expert witness is attempting to explain how virtual reality was part of the injury or using it to show the case, these situations often require permission and a great deal of preparation. The devices must be placed in the room, many electrical connections are necessary and there must be enough headsets for all jury members and the judge when showing them how the incident occurred. If the expert is only explaining these matters, he or she may have a device so that it may be visually explained with better clarification and understanding by seeing what it entails.

Some experts are unable to provide testimony in the courtroom accurately and effectively, and the virtual reality interface is used for him or her to explain certain details or to testify. If the injury occurred through use of the system, the expert may have extensive experience in using the device or in building the electronics. Then, he or she may provide better on how they work, what they do to the body and how crimes may be committed with them. If the expert is unable to attend the court, he or she may be presented through these interfaces to supply details and testimony.

The Virtual Reality Expert

The extensive use of technology may increase the types of crimes and injuries committed and sustained. The theft of information or funds with virtual reality may become part of everyday life. With these instances of economic and financial harm, new experts may become necessary to explain how the device assisted in perpetuating the crime.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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