Investigation File

The investigation file contains all relevant information concerning the current investigation. Where relevant and available, this file should include:

  • a copy of the enforcement officer’s Warrant of Authority

  • The enforcement officer's inspection notes (in date order) including job sheets, incident reports, notebook entries (i.e. notebook itself)

  • complaints in whatever form received by council, such as notes of telephone calls and letters

  • council forms, file notes or records of telephone conversation(s)

  • other contemporaneous records (note that where this includes information recorded on a dictaphone tape, the tape itself should be retained as it is the tape that is the contemporaneous record)

  • photographs (labelled and dated) along with the diagram showing where the photographs were taken

  • measurements i.e. survey notes, diagrams

  • evidence specimens (bagged if necessary and dated) and notations in evidence register

  • letters to complainants, potential defendants and others (this should include any warning letters issued)

  • letters from complainants, potential defendants and others

  • statements from potential witnesses

  • interview notes, and transcripts of interviews and statements (which must be checked to ensure accuracy against hand-written or taped record)

  • maps

  • e-mails, or copies of any relevant documents stored electronically

  • copies of any search warrant issued for the investigation

  • any other supporting information available.

It helps to group this information in sections, then arrange it chronologically within each section. For example:

  • offence / offender (identity, admissions, offence provisions, legal opinions, fact analysis)

  • scene (site maps, zoning maps, other locality and land features information and field notes)

  • witnesses (personal details and statements)

  • exhibits (photographs, chain of custody and analysis of samples)

  • administration (phone and correspondence, notices and investigation reports / decision forms).

To assist your thinking on the case, you might add an overview section to the file including:

  • information on suspects' identities - title (owner), company search (directors' names), as well as leases, easements and licenses (ability to use property)

  • copies of relevant sections of legislation, regulations and local laws (plans/bylaws), highlighted to show the alleged offence and any potential defences

  • elements of the offence ( Fact analysis )

  • list of potential witnesses

  • list of potential exhibits (and corresponding name of the witness who would produce the item)

  • chronology of events

  • date by which charges must be laid (usually six months after the incident occurred).

The investigation file would be used as the base from which to compile a prosecution file for hearing, which would include:

  • copies of relevant sections of legislation, rules, abatements notices, conditions (and so on) identifying the alleged offence and any potential defences

  • fact analysis

  • informant's copy of the 'informations' (charges)

  • summary of facts

  • witness schedule

  • briefs of evidence for all witnesses (supported by copy of original statement)

  • exhibits schedule (with corresponding name of the witness who is to produce the item of document/evidence)

  • copies of exhibits to be produced

  • victim impact statement (for sentencing).