Saturday, 23 July 2016

Computer evidence discovered but disclosure unjustly refused

Not having found a solicitor and following Sheriff Stirling's advice, I enquired about "disclosure of evidence" by writing to the Procurator Fiscal's Office on July 14th and when there was no reply, wrote again on July 18th, emailing court officials in addition.

The Procurator Fiscal Depute replied on July 19th informing me that the Duty CID Inspector at Queen Street Police Station would facilitate collection of disclosed evidence. When I replied the same day, enquiring if the defence would be provided with copies of the computer and memory device data, I was told that the Procurator Fiscal Depute had no intention of disclosing the seized computer data evidence itself, only a computer examination report prepared for the prosecution.

When I contacted the police, Aberdeen Service Centre, on July 20th, by telephone and by email, and left a message for the Duty CID Inspector, I was informed he was busy and would get back to me in due course.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court, 21st July

Sheriff Margaret Hodge, presiding

I told Sheriff Hodge that the Procurator Fiscal Depute's email's proposed disclosure of evidence was incomplete and unsatisfactory. James Dunbar, the Procurator Fiscal Depute in court wondered why I wanted to access the computer data because he understood that I was not disputing authorship of the tweets.

Sheriff Hodge explained that time pressures because of all the other intermediate diets she was hearing that day meant that she did not have time for me to go through in detail reading from my emails to the court to explain my reasons for wanting the computer data evidence itself disclosed and she asked for a quick verbal summary.

So I was rushed and not being a lawyer with all my arguments memorised, I only had time to comment that if the computer examination report was material then the computer data upon which the report was based was material too and should be disclosed to the defence.

I also pointed out that apart from the items of evidence I had gleaned while being represented by Mr McLeod of George Mathers Solicitors, I had not had any evidence disclosed to me directly by the procurator fiscal depute as yet because the procurator fiscal depute had only two days ago (July 19th) replied to my request for disclosure, the email exchange between us had gone on into the afternoon and it being a hot day on 19th July I was too exhausted to contact the police that day and when first thing early on 20th July I did contact the Police Scotland Aberdeen Service Centre, the Duty CID Inspector did not get back to me, I was told because the police were busy with other matters.

Anyway, Sheriff Hodge ordered another intermediate diet on 29th July to give me more time to get evidence disclosed.

Before I left the dock, I pointed out to the court that I had other reasons to state for not proceeding to trial in the Sheriff court but Sheriff Hodge said that those should be considered at the trial.

I was not quick witted enough to think of saying this to the court but I will observe here and now that it is somewhat prejudicing the issue of whether or not trial is appropriate in the Sheriff Court when a Sheriff decides to proceed to trial regardless of any arguments for not doing so.

Later that day, I wrote by email to Chief Inspector Grame Mackie, the local area commander for Aberdeen City South, asking for help in contacting the Duty CID Inspector for disclosure of evidence and later that day I got a phone call from DI Lee Jardine, who told me he was tasking a DS to meet me and hand over the documents to be disclosed, which I did later that day, being made to sign a document making threats of imprisonment if I did something wrong with the evidence being disclosed.

So I poured over the documents and wrote an email the next day, the 22nd July, yesterday, in the following terms.

Computer evidence discovered but disclosure unjustly refused.

PF Aberdeen v. Alastair Peter Dow. PF Ref - AB14008188.

Court ref SCS/2015-060310. Police Ref PGP0244410714

To: Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Aberdeen Procurator Fiscal's Office & Police Scotland

Dear Sir/Madam,

I acknowledge receipt of a bundle of paper documents from officers at Queen Street Police Station, Aberdeen on the afternoon of 21st July 2016.

However these documents represent only discovery, or notification of the existence, of computer evidence which was seized by police and which has been examined by employees of "Cybercrime Unit (North), Police Scotland" and their report submitted as part of the prosecution's case.

These documents do not represent disclosure to the defence of the computer evidence itself which the defence (me representing myself at the moment) considers crucial to the presentation of the defence case. Wrongly, my request for the disclosure of the computer evidence itself has been refused by the Procurator Fiscal Depute - see emails copied below.

So there has been no disclosure of the available computer evidence, only discovery of its existence, with disclosure wrongly refused.

I would first note that in the view of the defence, the Cybercrime Unit officers' report is redundant to the prosecution case because all the relevant conclusions of the report are already matters of public record, published by me on the internet and openly advertised in my own front window ...

Please view the attached images "Book 1 Photograph 1.jpg" and "Book 1 Photograph 2.jpg" of the front ground floor window of my home at 21 Hollybank Place, as is shown in photographs 1 and 2 of book 1 of photographs taken by the police's imaging support officer.

... stating the publicly published truth that I, Alastair Peter Dow am
  • the author of the website 
  • the owner of the @peterdow Twitter account 
These obvious facts have never been disputed by me and are facts which the prosecution have never had and never will have any need to prove, rendering both the cybercrime officers' report and the prior police raid and seizure of my computer equipment -
  • entirely unnecessarily and pointless, 
  • a complete waste of police time and resources, 
  • a violation of my property and human rights in law, 
  • an incompetent and unlawful abuse of state power, 
  • an obstruction of my duties as a scientist to humanity, obstructed by the simultaneous police seizure of my irreplaceable science research data, also stored on my computer equipment, 
  • inflicting upon me a catastrophic loss for 2 years of my scientific research data in computer science, physics, mathematics, engineering, medicine, biology and social sciences. 
In response to the report's conclusions I am irresistibly tempted to comment "No shit, Sherlock!" noting wryly that one of the investigating police detectives in this case is named "Sherlock", DC James, 0601.

Aside from the question of whether or not the discovered computer evidence items are required by the prosecution, disclosure of the computer evidence is crucial to the defence for 2 reasons.


The police seizure of my computer and memory devices has inflicted upon me a catastrophic loss for 2 years of my irreplaceable science research data, threatening my future ability to publish the results of my progress of my scientific research over many years.

The police seizure of my science data has rendered me offended in the extreme and indeed, at times, near apoplectic with righteous frustration at what amounts to, I consider, in effect a crime against science and a crime against humanity committed by the state.

Consequently, I may be too stressed to present my defence calmly, forensically and most effectively, as I should be allowed to do especially if required to present my own defence, as I seem to have to do, for the time being, my previous solicitor having withdrawn from acting for me and before such time as I can find a replacement solicitor to provide me with appropriate professional representation.

Appearing in the dock is already stressful enough without additionally having to endure the additional stress caused by the catastrophic loss of my science research data.

If the Crown's refusal to allow disclosure of the computer evidence is overturned, if the seized computer equipment and data is returned to me or copies of the computer data made available to me, if consequently my science research data can be saved for its future use in the service of humanity, then such a reassuring change of circumstances would certainly allow me much more peace of mind and a fairer opportunity to present my own defence to the best of my ability.


In addition, the defence may wish to consider the option of presenting evidence for the defence - such as a defence report or a defence presentation based on data which may be extracted from the discovered computer evidence - but only possible if such evidence were to be disclosed to the defence as I request and not merely discovered but still tantalisingly out of reach while disclosure is refused.

Without the computer evidence being disclosed, the defence would be obstructed from an opportunity to present any such computer data sourced evidence for the defence.

Therefore, for two reasons, the computer evidence should be disclosed as requested by the defence by overturning the Procurator Fiscal Depute's refusal to disclose the computer evidence
  1. To allow me, the accused, the peace of mind to defend myself best 
  2. To allow for the option of the defence presenting computer-sourced evidence 
Whilst the prosecution may not consider the computer equipment seized to be "material" to their prosecution case, the defence certainly considers the computer equipment to be exceptionally material evidence and indeed crucial to the best possible presentation of the defence's case.

So the stubborn refusal by the Crown to allow disclosure of the computer evidence to the defence would be entirely unjust, disadvantaging the defence in a unfair and unjust way, a perversion of the course of justice and therefore a crime in law, committed by officers and officials concerned, which any fair court of justice would be bound to find these officers of the crown guilty of, if it ever comes to that.


Quoting from the cybercrime officers' report, they state on pages 1 & 2 -

"The following items were also examined, but were not found to contain relevant information, either due to them not being a data storage device, not containing files of interest or not having been used at the time of the alleged offence:
  • 4 X Cd's 
  • Hard Drive 
  • USB Stick 
  • External Hard Drive 
  • Floppy Disk 
  • Hard Drive 2 
  • Pen Drive 1 
  • Nokia Mobile Phone - Alastair Peter Dow 
  • Black Box and Cable 1 
  • Black Box and Cable 2 
  • USB Port and Cable" 

I now request the immediate return to me of all those items of my property now admitted by the prosecution to be "not found to contain relevant information".

Now that the truth of the irrelevance of those items to the prosecution's case has been admitted by the prosecutor's own experts' report, there can be no lawful reason for the prosecutors and police to refuse to return those irrelevant items which are my property and therefore I am the only person who has a lawful right to possession of those items.

Such items are not relevant to the prosecution but are most relevant to me and I do need them returned to me immediately!

So please return my seized items that are now admitted to be "not found to contain relevant information" as is your duty according to law!


Quoting from the cybercrime officers' report, they state on page 2 -

"Using specialist hardware and software, we copied the contents of all the relevant computer hard disk drives and other storage media onto our central storage system.

Thereafter we used the copies to examine the contents, leaving the original disks and media completely unaltered."

Firstly, I would like to welcome the reports' claim that my original disks and media have been left completely unaltered. My data is most precious to me and needed in future for my scientific duties to humanity. At all costs, this data must be preserved. Indeed it would be a crime against science and a crime against humanity not to preserve this data.

I went to great lengths to keep my science research data safe and secure and only officers of the police state could have gotten their sticky hands on my data to put its integrity and safety at risk. Therefore there is an extraordinary obligation on officers and officials to protect and defend the integrity of this seized data under all circumstances.

Secondly, I would note that the fact that the data has already been copied rather contradicts the claim of the Procurator Fiscal Depute in the below-copied email of Tuesday, 19 July 2016 -

"The Crown will not be making copies of all that is contained within your computer/memory devices." - Procurator Fiscal Depute

As far as those seized items considered "relevant", copies of all the data contents of those items have indeed already been made by the cybercrime unit officers!

Consequently, there would be no detriment to the prosecution if the original computer equipment was returned to me, all relevant data having been already copied onto the cybercrime's central storage unit.

Therefore please now return to me all items of my computer equipment -

1. The irrelevant items not being required by the prosecution
2. The relevant items having been already copied by officers of the cybercrime unit.

I cannot emphasise enough - no language is strong enough - my scientific research data must be saved and returned to me in the service of humanity and in the public interest. Not to do so would be dereliction and violation of duty by all those neglecting and refusing to do so.

Hopefully, if my precious data is returned to me safely as soon as possible then perhaps all parties in this case can look forward to an amicable settlement of this matter.

(Alastair) Peter Dow
Bachelor of Science with Honours
Ground Right Flat
21 Hollybank Place
AB11 6XR
Tel. 01224 583906

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