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HomeHeadlinesLEGAL TIPS: HOW TO USE TEXT MESSAGES AND CHATS AS EVIDENCE IN...

LEGAL TIPS: HOW TO USE TEXT MESSAGES AND CHATS AS EVIDENCE IN COURT

LEGAL TIPS: HOW TO USE TEXT MESSAGES AND CHATS AS EVIDENCE IN COURT

LEGAL TIPS: HOW TO USE TEXT MESSAGES AND CHATS AS EVIDENCE IN COURT

Many people often wish to use the chats they had on their phones as evidence in court to show that somebody had certain communication with them. But many do not know how to do this. They end up doing it the wrong way and they end up losing. I decided to use this post to teach you how to use this important type of evidence in a court of law.

Whenever you want to use text messages or chats as evidence, you must show the following:

(1) The name of the person who sent you the message or whom you had the chat with,
(2) You must show the entire chat. The court does not want to see only a part of the chat. They want to see everything written in the chat on that issue,
(3) You must show the date and time you received the message or had the chat,
(4) You must show that you received the message directly or how else you received the chat. If you did not receive the message directly, but it was forwarded to you by someone else, you must identify the person who first received it and forwarded it to you.
(5) If the chat message did not come directly to you, but was forwarded to you by a third party, you must show who forwarded it and that he forwarded everything he received from the person you said sent it and that the third party did not make any alterations on what he received. And that person should be available to testify or depose to an affidavit stating that what he forwarded to you was the entire message without alteration.

There is one common mistake people make on this and you should know about it. Remember that the way you tender these chats as evidence is for you to screenshot the messages and turn them into text and print them. When you screenshot a message you received on WhatsApp, for instance, the name you used in saving that contact will appear on top of the screenshot. Many people save their husband’s or wife’s name as “My baby”, “My love”, Sugar Bunch”, etc.

Let’s say that your husband’s real name is Robert John, but you saved his number on your phone contact as “My sugar babe”. Let us say that you fell out with your husband. Let us say that your husband sends you a WhatsApp message threatening to kill you when he gets home. Let us say that down the line, you are in court against your husband. And you want to show the court the printed screenshots of the threat from your husband. But the screenshots you printed have “My sugar babe” as the sender. If you tender the screenshots in evidence as it is, the court will not know exactly the person that you call “My sugar babe”. How will the court know that the message from the person called My sugar babe is a message from Robert John? You will need to call an additional witness to prove that is your husband, Robert John. This is tedious and often unhelpful.

What do you do? You should first go to your contact and unsave that person’s contact. Once your husband’s number is no longer saved on your contact, his true phone number will appear in the same spot where My sugar babe’ has been appearing. Then you can screenshot the message. After screenshotting the message, you can save the contact again as My sugar babe. The important thing is that the screenshots you made will now appear with the phone number of your husband, Robert John.

When you tender this screenshot as evidence in court, the court will use the phone number that appeared to show who owned the phone that sent you the message. Most phone numbers are registered. So, once the phone number is known, it is easy to show who has the phone. We constantly tell people that if they wish to use screenshots of text messages as evidence in court, they must make sure that the number (not the name) of the sender appears on the screenshot. This means that you must unsave your husband on your phone contact and after printing the screenshot, you can save it again.

The use of electronic evidence – emails, text chats, voice recording or video recordings or even photographs, Messenger messages as evidence in court requires the help of an expert. There are intricate rules of evidence governing how to use such evidence. Make sure you are dealing with an expert that understands the rules of evidence law. Do not think that the court will behave like your friends and accept anything you bring to court as evidence.

NOTE:
Now, you know that most of those screenshot messages you send to me are not really useful in a court of law because instead of the number that was sent to them, we see the pet name you gave the sender on your phone contact.

 

 

 

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