Digital evidence has become an essential element of criminal investigations and prosecutions for all types of crimes. This research report by The University of Hong Kong, commissioned by the International Criminal Police Organisation, is a study of the laws governing the use of digital evidence in criminal cases in nine beneficiary countries in Asia, namely the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Maldives, Mongolia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The report also studies the existing legal arrangements that enable these countries to request and obtain digital evidence from abroad in cross-border cases.
All nine countries are members of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, five are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), four are members of The Commonwealth, and three are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Six of the countries have mixed common law legal systems, while the other three have civil law systems. The evidence laws of four of the mixed common law jurisdictions are based on or influenced by the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.
This study has found that the laws and practices in all nine countries generally favour the admissibility and use of digital evidence in criminal cases. No instance was found of a court rejecting digital evidence merely on the grounds that the evidence was in a digital form... Click here to download the full summary. Professor Simon Young led the HKU research team responsible for preparing the research report. In May 2022, Professor Young and his team helped to organise the training of prosecutors and police across nine Asian countries in INTERPOL's e-Evidence Programme for Prosecution (Module 2: Legal framework on e-Evidence admissbility).