Elementising Evidence – An innovation to the craft of evidence and brief management

Mr Craig Doran1

1COMtrac, Brisbane, Australia


Courts were initially caught flatfooted in response to the COVID pandemic and urgent reforms were needed to be implemented.  Reforms of courts and judicial processes generally occur at a glacial pace.   However, the courts underwent a breakneck transition to operate virtually. Virtual courts and digital briefs are here and are going to stay.

Delay in the hearing of matters, can affect the memories of witnesses, and impair confidence in the judicial system.  Investigators, due to the ‘back to back’ nature of case loads, will often complete the investigation at one point to take the relevant enforcement action (arrest, summons, administrative sanction) but will not put the brief of evidence together until they are aware of a pending court date.  This almost always results in a ‘last minute rush’ to put the brief together.  This ‘last minute rush’ has always been a common characteristic of inadequate or incomplete briefs.

The need for “digital briefs of evidence” automatically created as the investigation progresses and not months after the investigation has finished, will address the quality and suitability of briefs of evidence in virtual and online proceedings.  But most importantly, digital briefs will be critical to supporting the recent innovation of virtual proceedings to ensure that our courts reduce adjournment times and streamline the criminal and civil justice process to gain ground and future proof proceedings


With over 22 years’ experience in the Queensland Police Service, including tenure in the Fraud and Corporate Crime Unit and also the Crime and Corruption Commission, Craig is a highly regarded expert in the management of complex investigations. Craig’s expertise and passion focus on the development of investigations management strategies to increase the efficiency and quality of complex investigations. Through years of arduous, antiquated paper-based brief preparation, an experience shared with peers across agencies with the remit to undertake investigations, Craig realised there had to be a more effective way to manage complex, often protracted investigations. Inspired and driven by his experience and the works of Harvard’s Professor Malcolm Sparrow, Craig identified the key characteristics of harm associated with inefficient investigations and created an evidence management methodology known as ‘Elementising Evidence’. The concept of ‘Elementising Evidence’ is an innovation to the ‘craft of investigation management’ and has been adopted by Commonwealth, State and Local Government Regulators. Craig and his team reduce the administrative burden of managing investigations and producing briefs of evidence through an automated, digital solution known as COMtrac.  Craig is a highly regarded author, keynote speaker, industry expert and leader in investigative methodologies and evidence management.