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Computer Forensic Expert Witness: Role and Duties

The duties and roles of a computer forensic expert witness often revolve around a criminal investigation where a computer is part of the illegal activity. However, these same experts may also have a use in a civil litigation case, for hacking purposes and when a person commits a white-collar crime, and the expert may become invaluable in proving the activity behind the computer.

A computer forensic expert often has the capabilities of piecing together crime from the information left over from computer transactions. If the person commits fraud, embezzling at a company, engages in child pornography or has a connection to insurance fraud or other crimes, the forensic expert may discover these concerns. He or she may need to go to the scene where the computer resides and use software, tools and other equipment to crack into the files and erased data no longer available to most using the computer. He or she may also need to check the network, any previously saved information on the company
cloud or what the person accessed through the intranet.

Forensic Computer Expert with a Company

When the crime that occurred deals with a company, the forensic computer expert may need to travel to the company building and access the network.
This may also require checking over several employees, looking through records and confidential data. The expert may need to sign contracts to ensure he or she does not disclose the secret company information to anyone not authorized to review it. By sifting through hundreds of files and checking transactions between other computers in the network, or with interactions between the machine and the internet, the expert may discover the origin of the crime.

The Expert for the Prosecution

When a crime occurs, if there is any suspicion, an investigation into the matter may begin. This often requires an expert that understands how the crime occurs and what actions take place. For matters that involve computers, networks or the internet, a forensic computer expert is the best hire for the case. He or she may need to examine the machines and recreate the crime or discover illegal activity in progress. Through his or her knowledge and background in these devices, he or she may understand code, statistical data or numbers that connect to certain crimes. By recreating the criminal activity, the professional may increase the strength of the prosecution’s case.

For white-collar crimes such as embezzlement, industrial matters, fraud and internet crimes, the forensic computer expert is the ideal hire. He or she may need to interview employees at a company, use equipment, methods and tools on an individual’s computer or access parts of the internet. It is possible the professional may need to use his or her experience in restoring data or analyzing the digital information provided by the computer. This may even lead to files deleted that implicate someone specific. If the concern is a white-collar crime, this could point to an employee or executive at a company. However, someone’s personal computer could also have involvement in the case.

Further Duties of a Computer Forensic Expert

The computer forensic expert often needs to piece a case together to determine who is at fault in the crime or civil case and how to proceed from there. In a civil case, the expert’s knowledge and understanding of computers may provide a better comprehension of the transactions that caused harm to the victim. He or she usually needs to prove liability, responsibility and what damages the company or person owes to the victim. These damages often encompass economic matters such as money stolen, credit numbers ruined through actions and reputation harmed through the incident.

In a criminal case, the computer expert becomes the person the lawyer may communicate with about the crime. This is often for the prosecution to explain to the courtroom how the illegal act took place. Many jurors and judges may have only an average knowledge and understanding of how computers work or affect a business. With only a minor working comprehension in these matters, the computer expert may need to illuminate the courtroom about the crime and what manner it took or how the person caused the injury.

The Computer Forensics Expert Explained

Someone with an understanding of accessing compromised computers, duplicating files, checking email and restoring systems from deletion is generally a computer forensic expert hired for a case dealing with electronic machines, the internet and networks. His or her expertise becomes invaluable in understanding how the injury or crime occurred.

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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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