Child porn ‘unlikely’ to have been planted


A cache of child pornography was unlikely to have been planted on the laptop of a man accused of accessing the material, a computer forensics expert told the Supreme Court yesterday.

David Graham, a US expert, told prosecutor Larry Mussenden that a report on the computer that suggested that the pornography could have been transferred to the laptop through a USB stick without the defendant’s knowledge was “speculation”.

He added: “There was nothing that showed that this had occurred.”

Mr Graham was speaking on the second day of the trial of a 30-year-old Devonshire man charged with having 1,200 child pornography images and videos.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has denied seven charges of accessing child pornography between April 12, 2010 and March 11, 2015.

Jerome Lynch QC, for the defence, said that there was no dispute that the pornography was found on the laptop or that Mr Graham was an expert in his field.

Mr Graham agreed with Mr Lynch that the laptop did not need a password to use it.

He also agreed that there were several ways the pornography could have got on to the computer.

Mr Lynch said it was possible that the defendant put it there.

However, he added: “Or some other person, who had access to his computer, put it there.”

Mr Graham agreed that was possible.

The Crown has alleged that the man used peer-to-peer filesharing networks to access the materials.

Mr Lynch asked Mr Graham if it could have been done remotely and the expert said that was also possible.

Mr Graham added that no computer virus used filesharing software to perform searches and downloads.

He said: “There isn’t a virus that’s known that is able to perform searches on a peer-to-peer network, then, with those searches, download those files.”

Mr Graham said that a person was needed to perform such an action. He was asked to give his opinion on a report by tech firm Fort Knox Bermuda for the defence, based on an examination of the laptop said to have been seized from the defendant’s home.

Mr Graham said the two people who wrote the report were IT specialists, not forensic specialists.

Mr Graham explained: “We are trained differently.”

He added: “We deal more with looking and determining and preserving evidence on computers.”

Mr Graham said that forensic specialists treated evidence “as if the evidence is a crime scene”.

He added: “We take precautions to protect the evidence from being altered.”

The court heard on Wednesday that the United States Department of Homeland Security contacted the Bermuda Police Service in March 2015 and told officers they had found a Bermudian IP address had accessed child pornography.

Bermuda officers tracked the IP address to the house where the defendant lived with his parents and mounted a dawn raid on the property five days later.

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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