The court ruling

​All charges relating to the images found on the handset were dropped. 

The case

A young man stood accused of having taken photographs on his iPhone of drugs, large amounts of cash and guns/ammunition. The prosecution asserted that he must therefore have been in possession of these items at the time the photographs were taken.

Case Study 2: Prosecution finds images of guns & drugs on defendant's phone - 3EF proves they were automatically downloaded, not taken by the defendant

The defence

The defence offered by the defendant was a simple one - 'I didn't take those pictures, they must have been downloaded to my phone without my knowledge'

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The moral for defence teams

Always get your own expert examination of any mobile devices - If the prosecution are relying on evidence gleaned from a mobile phone or tablet, and have 'expertly' examined it themselves, you are entitled to request your own examination. The prosecution examiners are, to put it bluntly, not very good. They are on tight budgets, they are poorly trained and they have unrealistic targets to achieve. These factors don't add up to a full examination, so get your own!

The prosecution

The images were found in the 'Camera Roll' of the iPhone - They must therefore have been taken by the user of the phone.

Enter 3ef

We were, quite frankly astounded by the ineptitude of the prosecution report in this case - Although not entirely surprised. 

Yes, it's true that photographs taken on an iPhone are placed into the Camera Roll; each image is given it's own number which increments as new images are added, for example 'IMG_0001.jpg', 'IMG_0002.jpg' and so on. It is also true that images from sources other than the handset's camera are also added to the camera roll, for example those from WhatsApp chats, and that these images follow the same naming convention as photographs taken on the phone. To the untrained eye, photographs taken and images downloaded are indistinguishable from each other.

Our eyes, however, are highly trained. We were able to prove that the images of interest found on the defendant's iPhone originated both from WhatsApp group chats and WhatsApp Contact pictures and NOT from the camera.