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Amount of CCTV footage obtained by police a striking feature of the Grace Millane murder trial


One of the most striking aspects of the Grace Millane trial was the significant amount of security camera footage found and uplifted by police, and presented in court.

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The scope of the footage surprised even one of New Zealand’s most senior defence lawyers. Source: 1 NEWS

Marie Dyhrberg, who is one of the country's most experienced defence lawyers, told 1 NEWS even she was surprised at the amount of CCTV vision.

"I think many people don't realise just how widespread that sort of coverage is now," she said.

The jury, and the public, was able to see what amounted to almost a minute-by-minute record of the night Grace Millane died.

It showed she and her murderer meeting outside SkyCity and then going off to drink in a number of locations, before heading back to the CityLife hotel for the night in downtown Auckland.

The central Auckland location in this case has been key, according to former police detectives who've left the force to become private investigators.

"There are cameras in lots of places where you don't normally potentially see where they are, or know where they are," former detective Troy Anderson told 1 NEWS.

His colleague, Piet van der Harst, said specialist police will quickly spread out after a big crime to rake in as much security camera footage as they can.

"And obviously there is a bit of a race in time because there are some businesses that will write over their footage every five or seven days," he told 1 NEWS. "So we want to try and secure that footage as soon as possible."

Jurors, and those following the story, were also able to see where Ms Millane's murderer was and what he was doing in the time after she died and before he buried her body.

He was recorded in the back of a taxi, in a rental car business, on another date with another woman, in a supermarket buying cleaning products and buying a shovel in a hardware store.

Mr van der Harst, a former police detective, said that CCTV cameras have become much cheaper and better quality in just a few years, and that is what has resulted in so many being out there.

"But the evidential value is gold because it puts date stamps where someone is, what clothing they've got on, who they're with at the time," he said.

Mr Anderson agrees.

"It can show people's movements, their demeanour at the time, the state that they were potentially in, whether they were intoxicated or not intoxicated," he said.

But what's good for prosecutors in court is also good for defendants.

"Prior to the use of this technology it was very much a 'he said, you said' and you were always battling to get the court to believe your client against the Police," Ms Dyhrberg said.

"I think what has come out of the Millane case is the just the extensive number of CCTV cameras that are around the city."

Ms Dyhrberg said that while security footage has been an option to use in court for some time, the sheer number of cameras has never been "so extensive."

"There's been a huge change and of course a huge change in how you conduct cases," she said.

Police told the trial they recovered about six days worth of footage from the CityLife hotel.