The NT police made several key errors in their CSI and collection of evidence
Perhaps the most monumental error they made was neglecting to obtain digital copies of the CCTV images from the Alice Springs Shell service station.
1. The Shell service station had recently upgraded their CCTV system to a new DIGITAL system. This digital system incorporated a DVR, or Digital Video recorder, this device saved the video images onto a hard disk drive in a lossless digital format. Not understanding the full impact of their actions the police simply copied the images to an ANALOGUE VHS video tape recorder, as VHS was the standard medium for recording video in 2001. The police later digitised the images and enhanced them on a computer. But the images were of poor quality, they had been converted from a DIGITAL format to ANALOGUE then back to DIGITAL again. The conversion process had reduced the image quality, the images were no longer sharp and detailed so the mans identity could not be confirmed. The police should have taken DIGITAL copies from the DVR or just taken the DVR or its harddrive and copied the images across to their computer. A DIGITAL to DIGITAL copy will suffer no loss in quality or detail.
2. When Joannes original statement was being taken, some 18 pages worth, the police officer forgot to save the file, when the computer locked up, the statement was lost. Joanne had to give her statement all over again and this time is was written down and it was reported it lacked the same detailed information the statement on the computer had.
3. The police employed a local art teacher, Mr David Stagg, to make sketches of the mans vehicle, the gun and other implements Joanne described. Some of the sketches were quite amateurish and were not up to the standard a police artist was capable of. Joanne and the artist worked together for around 6 hours, Mr Stagg was extremely nervous and “filled in the gaps” in Joannes recollections with his own ideas when making the sketches. Whilst the police have been criticized for employing Mr Stagg, it should be noted the official police artist was not available as he was on holidays at the time.