Many court cases have been lost because of an attorney’s inability to convince the court of the authenticity of image data. Cases that involve property crimes or territorial disputes often hinge on images of land areas that courts often claim cannot be authenticated. It is for this very reason that Raymond Harris and Raymond Purdy, a satellite imaging specialist and “space lawyer,” respectively, have established Air and Space Evidence Ltd of London.
ASEL is the first ever space detective agency and is, as the title implies, based in London, England with plans to branch out across the pond and into the United States in the very near future.
Purdy is an expert in what is known as “Earth observation privacy law” and Harris’s area of expertise is space-based photographic imagery. They have spent the last few years pooling their resources and combining their areas of expertise to form their space detective agency which they say often gets an initial chuckle when first mentioned, though it is actually a very serious and necessary endeavor in the world of criminal detection and legal proceedings.
According to the two, space imagery can be and is used as valid and admissible evidence in legal disputes that involve everything from vehicle theft to residential and business property boundary disputes. On an even more profound level, these space detectives have used their equipment and resources to investigate accusations of fraud as well as corporate environmental issues like illegal logging and waste incineration.
Purdy and Harris say that their process typically involves utilizing their vast network of personal and professional connections to commission satellite images from image suppliers such as Digital Globe which is located in Colorado for an area specific to a particular case.
Together they have established a reputable track record as expert witnesses in several satellite imaging cases and are excited to expand their business into the US.