Aug 12, 2015

Witness Lorenzo Lanzi on the creation of photo-boards of the accused

Mr Lorenzo Lanzi, who gave evidence in court on 14-15 July, is a Swiss national. He is a criminalist at the Geneva police in Switzerland and a former associate forensic expert with the Office of the Prosecution. Mr Lanzi is specialised in forensic imaging, and was asked to create photo-boards which were to include images of the accused Sabra and Oneissi. An investigator of the Prosecution asked Mr Lanzi to create these photo-boards in order to allocate the use of certain telephones to Mr Sabra and to Mr Oneissi. In order to create these photo-boards, Mr Lanzi performed an assessment of various images contained in Lebanese passport application forms. The aim of the assessment was to retrieve images of  Mr Sabra and Mr Oneissi, and to retrieve images of faces of individuals with similar visual characteristics referred to as 'fillers'.

The statement of the witness is tendered into evidence and the witness is cross-examined by defence counsel Mr Courcelle-Labrousse. Mr Lanzi confirms that he was not trained to create photo-boards. At the time of creation he was not aware of the existence of specific forensic rules (from police practice guides for example) on the creation of photo-boards, including that (i) the investigator who is going to show a photo-board to a witness should act in such a way as not to be aware of who is the suspect on the photo-board; (ii) the investigator who is to show the photo-board should not have been involved directly or indirectly in the preparation of such a photo-board; and (iii) the pictures in a photo-board should be presented to the witness in a sequential fashion, that is, one at a time, rather than simultaneously or not all at the same time. The Prosecution confirms that there existed no formal policies on the compilation of photo-boards within its office.

The witness further explains that he chose those individuals whilst trying to avoid including the brothers and relatives for each one of the photo-boards. The Defence however points the witness to various family members (of co-accused) and accused before the STL included in the photo-boards. The witness does not remember out of how many photos he made the selection for the photo-boards or what criteria he exactly used to select faces similar to the accused, as some of the faces show very little similarity.

Hopefully there will soon be more evidence in court about the use of these photo-boards.

No comments:

Post a Comment