Tag Archives: investigator

How hard is it to get a warrant?

cell phone recordConnecticut claims it is too hard to get a warrant to obtain the cell phone records. In Connecticut-the police can obtain the cell phone records of “anybody” with an “ex parte  application. Here is the article from “a public defender”.

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West Virginia Man found not guilty of burning down his house

Map of West Virginia highlighting Morgan County
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Here is an interesting story from The Morgan Messenger, the jury determined the greedy insurance company had a “paid investigator”

Jury finds man not guilty of arson

- by Kate Shunney – 6/3/2009

After four hours of deliberation, a Morgan County jury found a Hedgesville man not guilty on Monday afternoon, June 1, of arson and trying to defraud an insurance company by setting a fire at his home in April 2006.

The jury of seven women and five men found Robert E. Booth, 52, not guilty of the charges following a five-day trial in the Morgan County Circuit Court, with Judge Gina Groh presiding.

Defense attorney Ken Ford called only three witnesses on Booth’s behalf — Booth, his wife and a neighbor.

Statements by Booth’s wife, Pamela Armstrong Booth, following the fire triggered an investigation both by the Erie Insurance Company and the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s office. Both investigations deemed the fire to be purposefully set.

On April 10, 2006, Pamela Booth gave a sworn statement to representatives of Erie Insurance that her husband had made comments about burning down the couple’s house, which was under contract to be sold.

Testimony from three real estate agents and the Booths also described various ways that Robert Booth tried to obstruct the sale of the couple’s home, including interfering with the scheduling of a home inspection and making angry calls to agents and brokers.

Two of the witnesses for the prosecution testified that Booth said he would burn the house down before he let Pamela Booth sell it.

Ford ended his closing argument by returning to a theme of insurance company greed.

“Mr. Booth is a victim of circumstance. He’s innocent of these charges,” Ford insisted.

“All of the spinning, the dog he loved in the house, the fact that the only investigator that found anything wrong was bought and paid for by the insurance company — when you add that all together, there’s doubt all over the place,” said Ford.

To read the full story click here.

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Is a Warrant required for a GPS Unit Installation

GPS receivers from Trimble, Garmin und Leica
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From MSNBC, below are two articles on GPS installations.

First, do police need a warrant to install GPS?

At the heart of the matter is whether tracking someone with a global-positioning system device constitutes a search, which is covered by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. A Wisconsin court of appeals ruled last week that no, it doesn’t. On Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that yes, it does.

“It brings us back to the fundamental question as to whether GPS tracking is synonymous with visual surveillance,” says Hillary Farber, a professor of law and criminal justice at Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice in Boston. “This is an evolving area of law…. It’s a hot issue.”

The full article is here

Second, the use of GPS in domestic cases

When Lovers’ Quarrels Go Hi-Tech

As surveillance technology, such as GPS tracking devices and video cameras, has evolved to become smaller and cheaper, more and more people like Michelle are turning to spy gadgetry to not just monitor their property, but the people in their lives.

But, experts warn that it’s easy to cross the line. Stalking is illegal, and depending on your state, you could find yourself running afoul of the law without even knowing it.

The full article is here

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Divorce vs. Murder

Banksy in Bristol
Image by aloha orangeneko via Flickr

For the lighter moments in life

DIVORCE VS. MURDER

A nice, calm and respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes,and said, “I would like to buy some cyanide.”

The pharmacist asked, “Why in the world do you need cyanide?”

The lady replied, “I need it to poison my husband.”

The pharmacist’s eyes got big and he exclaimed, “Lord have mercy! I can’t give you cyanide to kill your husband. That’s against the law!  I’ll lose my license! They’ll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!”

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist’s wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, “Well now, that’s different. You didn’t tell me you had a prescription.”

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Read Cheryl Thomas’ page-Undercover Investigations

Cheryl Thomas

Cheryl Thomas

Be sure to read Cheryl Thomas’ new page on the blog, Undercover Investigations.

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Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation in NC

From the Rosen Law Firm

Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation

An outsider’s interference with marriage can cost the outsider big bucks in North Carolina
Fairly high-dollar awards in such cases have existed here for a number of years, a fact not generally known. As long ago as 1926, for instance, a jury in MaconCounty rendered a verdict in the amount of $12,000 against the lover of plaintiff’s wife. A 1931 jury in Forsyth County held against plaintiff wife’s father-in-law for $38,000. A Rowan County jury awarded $30,000 against a husband’s girlfriend in 1969. In 1982, our Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict in the amount of $25,000 in compensatory damages and another $25,000 in punitive damages.

Moving into the 1990’s, North Carolina juries were even more generous. A 1990 Forsyth County jury award of $300,000 in punitive damages for alienation was sustained on appeal, even though the court struck the compensatory award for $200,000. In 1997 alone, a jury handed down $1.2 million against a female paramour in Forsyth County and awarding another jilted wife $1 million in Alamance County and a deceived husband $243,000 in Wake County. In late 1999, a judge in Durham County valued compensatory damages in a case brought by a husband against his wife’s lover at less than $3,000 in compensatory damages but the judge still awarded $40,000 in punitive damages on the criminal conversation claim.

Even in this decade, the trend of generosity has continued. In August of 2000, a Burke County judge awarded a devastated wife $86,250 for alienation of affection and $15,000 for criminal conversation, totaling $101,250. In May of 2001, in Richmond County, the jury answered the issues of alienation of affection and criminal conversation in favor of the scorned husband and awarded him compensatory damages of $50,000 plus punitive damages of $50,000. Another distraught husband, in Mecklenburg County, received an award of $1.4 million in May, 2001 comprised of $910,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.The jury found the doctor who had had an affair with this man’s wife liable for both alienation of affection and criminal conversation. After an appeal the original award of compensatory damages was reversed, the punitive damages award, however, was upheld. In 2007, a Cook County judge ordered a man to pay $4802 to a husband who was grieving the loss of his wife after an affair.

Since our Supreme Court refused to abolish these causes of action in 1984 and since our legislature has shown no strong interest in abolishing these causes of action, sizeable damage awards remain a real possibility in North Carolina. More than 200 alienation actions are filed in an average year.

Conduct after date of separation

The date of separation is an important date in alienation of affection and criminal conversation cases. Our courts have decided that conduct that occurs before the date of separation is relevant to these types of actions. This is because a claim of alienation of affection must prove that, among other things, the defendant’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection in the marriage. The parties to the marriage must still be together in order to prove this claim. It is important to note, however, that conduct which occurs after the date of separation may also be considered by a judge, if that conduct corroborates the conduct that occurred before the date of separation. In criminal conversation actions, by contrast, post-separation conduct is even more important. Conduct which occurs after the date of separation can be considered by a court to not only corroborate behavior that occurred before the date of separation, but is enough on its own to maintain an action for criminal conversation.

North Carolina is in the minority

The existence of continuing cases of this sort in North Carolina appears to surprise lawyers and residents in many other states because we are now in a very small minority of jurisdictions — including Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah — which still recognize both alienation of affection and criminal conversation. Forty three states and the District of Columbia have abolished the cause of action for alienation of affection. The states vary widely in the way they deal with this issue: in some states, only one of the two causes of action continues to exist, and thus proof of the claim and/or damages have been significantly curtailed in recent years. None of these reforms has altered the stance favoring such claims in this State.

Criminal Conversation

Criminal conversation is the name for a civil lawsuit sounding in tort (a kind of injury to the person) based on sexual intercourse between the defendant and the plaintiff’s spouse. Criminal conversation is something like a “strict liability tort” because the only things the plaintiff has to prove are (1) an act of intercourse and (2) the existence of a valid marriage between the plaintiff and the adulterous spouse, and (3) the bringing of the lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations. For all practical purposes, there are no obvious defenses to a timely claim for criminal conversation, provided the plaintiff can prove a valid marriage and intercourse between the defendant and plaintiff’s spouse. It is not a defense that: the defendant did not know the other person was married, that the person consented to the sex, that the plaintiff was separated from his or her spouse, that the other person actually seduced the defendant, that the marriage was an unhappy one, that the defendant’s sex with the spouse did not otherwise impact on the plaintiff’s marriage, that plaintiff had mistreated the spouse, or that the plaintiff had also been unfaithful. It might be a defense that the plaintiff “consented” to the illicit intercourse; but defendant would have to show that this approval or encouragement had pre-dated the extramarital conduct.

Alienation of Affection

An action for alienation of affection, on the other hand, does not require proof of extramarital sex. Despite this difference, an alienation claim tends to be more difficult to establish because it is comprised of more elements and there are some additional defenses. To succeed on an alienation claim, the plaintiff has to show that (1) the marriage entailed love between the spouses in some degree; (2) the spousal love was alienated and destroyed; and (3) defendant’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection. It is not necessary to show that the defendant set out to destroy the marital relationship, but only that he or she intentionally engaged in acts which would foreseeably impact on the marriage. Thus, defendant has a defense against an alienation claim — but not to a claim for criminal conversation — where it can be shown that defendant did not know that the object of his or her affections was in fact married. As with a criminal conversation action, it is not a defense that the non-innocent spouse consented to defendant’s conduct. But it might be a defense that the defendant was not the active and aggressive seducer. If defendant’s conduct was somehow inadvertent, the plaintiff would be unable to show intentional or malicious action. But prior marital problems do not establish a defense unless such unhappiness had reached a level of negating love between the spouses.

Criticism of these laws

Critics of such laws call them obsolete methods for legislating morality (despite the fact that most criminal laws could be said to legislate morality). Critics also say the laws do not fulfill their purpose of protecting marital relationships, inequitably punish only one of two guilty parties, and serve as an excuse for blackmail or forced settlements. The critics add that such suits can also be misused by embittered spouses seeking vengeance against a third party interferer and that injured spouses cannot possibly be compensated for a lost marriage. On the other hand, defenders point to the virtual non-existence of criminal prosecutions for adultery in current American culture, a need to uphold the sanctity of the marriage vows through some kind of formal legal sanction for violation of marital promises, and the potential deterrence of rampant extramarital affairs by means of the threat of monetary damage suits. Defenders also point out that adultery has a very long history of illegality; and that it is therefore appropriate for the civil laws of criminal conversation and alienation of affections to perpetuate Western culture’s longstanding disapproval, by law and by custom, of extramarital affairs.

Whether one thinks it is a good or a bad situation for North Carolina to continue to recognize such claims by spouses claiming injury to their marriages may largely depend, then, on one’s views of the need in the 1990s for protection of the marital relationship through civil litigation against the non-spouse wrongdoer and for monetary remedies for the alleged harms caused to that relationship. Indeed, some commentators have mentioned that high jury verdicts and the renewed popular interest in lawsuits for alienation of affections and criminal conversation may signal a growing societal disaffection with overly permissive sexual standards and a desire for stricter enforcement of family values. Pro-family writers believe it important that deceived spouses have litigation-oriented opportunities for vindication and that society retain this acknowledgment, however marginalized at present, of the supremacy of the institution of marriage against unwarranted intrusion. Ultimately, of course, these are all subjective and philosophical viewpoints likely to vary considerably from person to person.

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Canadian Investigations and the Use of Covert Video Surveillance

Canadian Underwriter,  3/9/2009


Insurance investigators at odds with Canadian privacy commissioner over covert surveillance

The Canadian Association of Private Investigators (CAPI) believes the “tone and content” of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s latest draft Guidelines on Covert Surveillance in the Private Sector will “hinder the public goal of combating fraud.”
A draft copy of the guidelines is currently not available on the Web site of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. But an old link to the document includes the following message by assistant privacy commissioner Elizabeth Dunham:
“The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has prepared a draft guidance document that sets out good practice rules for private sector organizations that are either contemplating or using covert video surveillance.
“Through our experience in investigating complaints about covert video surveillance under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), we have identified a need to educate organizations on the obligation to ensure that covert video surveillance is conducted in the most privacy sensitive way possible.
“Although the use of covert video surveillance may be appropriate in some circumstances, we view the technology as being inherently intrusive.”
But the practice of covert surveillance is in fact less intrusive than more overt forms of investigation such as medical examinations and interviews with neighbours, counsel Norman Groot writes in a memo sent out to various private investigation associations on behalf of Investigation Counsel Professional Corporation (ICPC).
The ICPC memo is addressed to the membership of the Canadian Association of Private Investigators (CAPI), the Council of Private Investigators—Ontario (CPIO) and the Canadian Association of Special Investigation Units (CASIU).
It notes that insurance fraud is estimated to cost the property and casualty insurance industry Cdn$1.3 billion annually.
“The OPC’s suggestions, such as using surveillance only as a ‘last resort,’ would seriously stymie the purpose and intended outcomes of private investigations, and would facilitate the commission of fraud,” the memo notes.
“Furthermore, the proposed guidelines’ onerous provisions will result in increased costs to provide goods and services, because coming into compliance with the proposed guidelines will result in higher fraud premiums being built into prices.”
CAPI has submitted to the privacy commissioner that organizations should be able to use discretion in employing covert surveillance, subject to the standard of reasonableness under the circumstances, as consistent with s. 5(3) of PIPEDA.

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New SC DUI Law

Map of South Carolina
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From the SC Criminal Defense Blog

Posted On: February 10, 2009 by Bobby G. Frederick

South Carolina’s new DUI law took effect today

S.C.’s revised DUI laws went into effect today at noon. Below is a basic outline of the major changes, from a post in May of last year:

Revised penalties under the new 56-5-2930:First offense: $400.00 or 48 hours to 30 days in jail, or 48 hours community service.
If the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .10 to .15: $500.00 or 72 hours to 30 days in jail, or 72 hours community service.
If the BAC is .16 or greater: $1000.00 or 30 days to 90 days, or 30 days community service.

Second offense: $2100.00 to $5100.00 and 5 days to 1 year in prison.
BAC of .10 to .15: $2100.00 to $5100.00 and 30 days to 2 years in prison.
BAC of .16 or greater: $3500.00 to $6500.00 and 90 days to 3 years in prison.

Third offense: $3800.00 to $6300.00 and 60 days to 3 years in prison.
BAC of .10 to .15: $5000.00 to $7500.00 and 90 days to 4 years in prison.
BAC of .16 or more: $7500.00 to $10,000.00 and 6 months to 5 years in prison.

Fourth or subsequent offense: 1 year to 5 years in prison.
BAC of .10 to .15: 2 years to 6 years in prison.
BAC of .16 or more: 3 years to 7 years in prison.

The jury makes the determination of what the BAC was, following a guilty verdict. If the jury does not reach a unanimous decision regarding the BAC, but does find that the accused is guilty, then the sentence is based on the non-enhanced penalties.

Another major change in the DUI law will be the deletion of the requirement that Miranda rights be read to the accused at the breath-testing site. Miranda must still be read to the accused on the roadside video, but not at the station.

The major changes are going to be in the penalties, which are now graduated based on BAC result. I’ll more of the details in the coming weeks, as time permits.

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How Politics Influences Criminal Law

Here is an example of how politics influences the crime level, whether or not an activity is legal or not.

Blueprints

N.C. legislation that makes vandalism a felony becomes law

Triangle Business Journal – by Sonia L. Johnson

Dathan Kaszuk
Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says some cases of vandalism “cried for” tougher punishment.

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RALEIGH – To combat the many acts of vandalism reported every year, the state’s construction industry has pushed through legislation that could put offenders behind bars for as long as 12 months.

A bill signed by Gov. Mike Easley that goes into effect on Dec. 31 elevates acts of vandalism that result in more than $5,000 in damages to class 1 felonies. Previously, such acts were classified as misdemeanors.

For many in the construction industry, the change could not come soon enough. Counties are reporting thousands of cases of vandalism, and some of these crimes are said to occur at construction sites.

In Wake County, not including incorporated areas such as Raleigh, the number of cases of vandalism in 2006 and 2007 was 1,838, of which arrests were made in 219 cases, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

This year, as of Aug. 22, the county reported 547 cases with 60 arrests. Of the 547 cases, 23 occurred at construction sites.

Statewide, in 2007, the number of arrests tied to vandalism dropped to 9,876, compared to 10,882 arrests reported in the previous year.

Vandals are said to specifically target remote or less-frequented places such as subdivisions under construction, country churches and schools that are closed for summer vacations.

CASE OF A MARINE

Leading the charge for tougher punishment was state Rep. Robert Grady, a Republican from Onslow County who sponsored House Bill 946. Grady points to the case of a young couple in Onslow County who bought their first home in a new neighborhood. The husband – a Marine – was readying to leave for Iraq. The couple and furniture arrived at the home, ready to move in before he left. The man unlocked the door to find that vandals had left a trail of destruction. They had hammered every appliance and metal fixture once, expertly, aiming to ruin each piece. Every countertop and toilet was broken. The faucets on both floors were opened, and the house was flooded. The second story floor had collapsed from the weight of the water. The wiring was ruined. Damage to the house totaled $25,000 – too much money for a couple who had already sunk their savings into their home.

According to Grady, the builder took pity on the couple and let them have another house, saddling himself with the damaged home. But there was more bad news. Four other unsold homes in the neighborhood had also been systematically vandalized. The total bill for damages handed to the builder totaled $125,000.

Grady says that while the vandals were later caught, there was no justice for the victims because the crime was classified as a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and 30 days community service.

“The fellows that did it were sitting there laughing,” says Grady.

Grady was so upset over the story, over the pictures of the damage, that he led the effort to harden punishment for the crime. At legislative meetings, he held up pictures of the damaged home and the traumatized home owners. Both the Carolinas Associated General Contractors and the North Carolina Home Builders Association supported the legislation.

WANTON DESTRUCTION

After passing both chambers, the legislation was signed into law by Gov. Easley on June 25.

The aim of the legislation is to raise the stakes for the worst offenders, says Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby. “There were some cases that cried for more than a class 2 misdemeanor, with extensive damage and people bent on mischief, not just some kids … but on wanton destruction.” Grady says vandals are aware of the current, light punishment – in fact, they count on it.

He says the crimes are premeditated and that vandals choose properties with lower odds of getting caught. They also go in with a plan of destruction and often bring tools – hammers, paint etc. After a house has been vandalized, the builder has no choice but to replace broken mirrors, toilets and cracked countertops. One dent in a fixture warrants its replacement.

“It’s just pure destruction, and it’s a conscious act, full of hate and anger,” says Grady. “They might be sick, but they’re not crazy. They’re coldly rational and go in with a well thought-out plan of destruction.”

Says Carolinas AGC’s Building Director Dave Simpson: “(The legislation) couldn’t come at a better time because people are getting desperate, especially with the economy the way it is. It sends a strong message to the public that if you’re going to vandalize churches, schools and construction projects, you better think twice.”

But how much good can the law do? For that matter, how will vandals learn about the tougher punishment?

Willoughby says that because the punishment for vandalism is commonly known among such offenders, word will spread.

For its part, the NCHBA has signs ready for members to post at construction sites.

SECOND VICTORY

Conviction under a class I felony results at a minimum in community punishment. This includes some combination of fines, basic probation and community service. If the vandal has a prior record, the judge could raise it to intermediate punishment, which places the offender under supervised probation plus some other special condition such as house arrest or a sentence of 30 to 60 days followed by probation. The hardened repeater, Willoughby says, faces an active sentence of 6 to 12 months in jail.

Willoughby also points out that, once convicted of a felony, a person forfeits the ability to obtain certain licenses.

Raising the crime to a felony also gives prosecutors extra leverage, he says, and allows prosecutors to justify putting resources toward such cases.

This is the second major victory for the construction industry in fighting crimes. In 2005, builders welcomed a state law that tightened punishment for construction site thefts. The NCHBA had solicited horror stories from members, and those flooded in. That only left a gap around vandalism cases, according to Lisa Martin, director of regulatory affairs for the NCHBA. The association hoped legislators would be sympathetic to issues of vandalism at construction sites, sensitized as they were by the stories of construction site thefts. Passage of the vandalism law suggests that may be the case.

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Surveillance in Singapore

They were disguised as pregnant women and foreign workers

By Santokh Singh

February 16, 2009

UP TO 1,000 hours of video footage collected.

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TNP FILE PICTURE UNHAPPY: Madam Amutha.

Nine months of private detective work from a team of five investigators who even disguised themselves as foreign workers and pregnant women.

Numerous types of equipment, including closed-circuit cameras, long-distance video cameras and motion detectors, used.

The cost of the whole exercise – a five-figure sum.

But the private investigation firm of SecureGuard Security Services Co-operative Limited delivered the goods.

The detective work helped the case of its clients, the Novena church, in its defence against plaintiff Madam Amutha Valli Krishnan, in the now infamous ‘exorcism’ trial.

The much-publicised civil suit between Madam Amutha, 53, and the church finally came to an end on Friday when Justice Lee Seiu Kin delivered his judgment.

The case had dragged on for more than four years. It stemmed from her allegation that two priests at the church, Father Jacob Ong and Father Simon Tan, and several churchgoers had performed an exorcism on her against her will for more than 21/2 hours on 10 Aug 2004.

Part of the plaintiff’s claim was that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of her experience in the church.

Click to see larger image

It not only affected her mentally but physically as well. She claimed that she was not able to live a normal life.

This included having difficulties going to the toilet alone, at times not having confidence to be independent, and needing assistance all the time.

She also had to make numerous visits to the hospital to be treated for her condition, which was worsening, she claimed.

But as Justice Lee observed in his written judgement: ‘In contrast to the rather dire picture of the plaintiff… the defendants produced video evidence, taken by private investigators, of the plaintiff going about her domestic activities, going out to the temple dressed in brightly coloured dresses and even working out on the treadmill and various other exercise machines in the gym.’

Producing this video evidence was the challenge for the team from SecureGuard, led by chief investigator Gilbert De Silva, 48.

The former police officer turned marine investigator and consultant for private investigations played a key part in collecting the evidence.

It was the longest surveillance project he had ever engaged in.

There was a time at the start of the investigations when he stayed at his post, with his operatives changing duty, for three straight days and nights.

He said: ‘It was 72 hours long but it was crucial at that point in time that we had the right person.

‘We were still in the process of establishing her identity and I wanted to be there for confirmation.’

Suffering?

That was challenge number one – getting the right person. The breakthrough came when they spotted Madam Amutha with her ‘sworn brother’ Resham Singh.

‘We knew about Resham Singh and seeing the two of them together confirmed it, and the case was on,’ said Mr De Silva.

The next challenge was to determine whether she was indeed suffering physically – that she needed help all the time.

The first breakthrough came when the surveillance managed footage of her washing and hanging out her clothes without any assistance from 29 to 31 Dec 2006.

She also dressed up and went to the Dharma Muneeswaran Temple in Serangoon North from about 4pm to 8pm.

‘She was perfectly normal, even going down on her knees to pray,’ said the investigator.

And if 72 hours was his longest stint at getting the evidence, it took him only 30 minutes to establish the fact that she could exercise without a walking stick.

‘It happened by chance. I was taking my wife to her school in Ang Mo Kio when I spotted Madam Amutha at Bishan Park.

‘I handed the car over to my wife, took out my video cam and followed her. It was all over in 30 minutes but it showed that she could walk properly,’ he said.

Then there was the time she was caught on tape at the gymnasium in Yio Chu Kang Sports Hall.

‘She was lifting weights and running on a treadmill,’ said Mr De Silva.

‘But what was interesting was that she was doing it all on her own, and in a place with strangers. When she was on the treadmill, there was a man exercising next to her and she displayed no fear.’

While getting this footage proved to be crucial, it was also the start of a difficult period.

‘My cameraman held the shot for one second too long and she noticed us,’ he said.

Madam Amutha then became more difficult to track as she took different routes to get out of her third storey flat in Ang Mo Kio.

She would at times walk down the stairs, or go up to fifth storey common corridor and then take either of two lifts located there.

‘We missed her on a couple of occasions because she took the lift at the end of the block rather than the one near her flat,’ he said.

‘Both she and Resham were suspicious. They would look around and changed their routes and modes of transport. At times they would travel by car and then get off and move on foot, and that made it challenging for us.’

For lawyer Tito Isaac, who represented the church and Father Simon, this project commissioned by his firm was also one of the longest surveillance projects he knows of.

‘But Gilbert’s team from SecureGuard came through with flying colours. All kudos to them for the work done,’ he said.

‘The evidence was there for all to see.’


Caught on videotape

BREAKTHROUGH 1:Mid-December 2006

Confirming identity of Madam Amutha, seen with sworn brother Resham Singh

BREAKTHROUGH 2: 29 to 31 Dec 2006

Catching her doing domestic chores and visiting the temple, looking personable

BREAKTHROUGH 3: 22 Jan 2006

Using public toilet in Yio Chu Kang gym, exercising with weights and on treadmill

BREAKTHROUGH 4: 31 Jan 2006

Seen walking alone from Bishan to Ang Mo Kio

BREAKTHROUGH 5: Numerous occasions

Seen walking with stick and weak gait when at hospital but looking fit at other times, even walking across Causeway

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