Saturday, 30 July 2016

Unscientific, bureaucratic red-tape, legal obstruction

Aberdeen Sheriff Court, 29th July

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin, presiding

In Aberdeen Sheriff Court 3 yesterday, Friday, 29th July 2016, from the dock, representing myself, I spoke to my "Computer evidence discovered but disclosure unjustly refused" email of 22nd July, a paper copy of which apparently had been added as I requested to the court papers for Sheriff McLaughlin, presiding.

Mr Alan Townsend for the Procurator Fiscal's Office offered to help disclosure by investigating facilitating making copies of the seized computer data evidence available to me, as I requested, as a useful alternative to the immediate return of my property.

In court, I read to Mr Townsend from the prosecution's own Forensic Computer Examination Report -
"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."

But Mr Townsend seemed to believe that the original equipment would have to stay in police / prosecutor hands for now, even though, as I point out again, exact copies of the data have already been made by the Police Scotland cyber-crime forensics team so there would seem to be no practical need for the crown to retain possession of the original equipment.

Additionally, Mr Townsend claimed that the prosecution could not agree facts with an accused representing him / herself so the conclusions of the Forensic Computer Examination Report could not be considered "agreed" between prosecution and defence, however much I state that my defence agrees with those conclusions which are, after all, merely matters of public record, published on the internet and advertised from my own front window.

"An anomaly" was I think how Mr Townsend described this legal obstruction to what seems to be the obvious thing to do now - return my equipment with its irreplaceable scientific research data, please!

"Unscientific and bureaucratic red tape" is how I might describe this legal obstruction.

However, if the prosecution and police were to make disclosure of computer data evidence as requested and to offer to make such copies of the seized data for the defence as are needed then I shall, of course, accept such copies with thanks.

Sheriff McLaughlin granted me a further postponement, rescheduling the trial diet for the 1st November, with another intermediate diet on 7th September.

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