This is in answer to the following questions:
Examining a computer hard drive is extremely easy for the right person and can be very revealing. It does not have to be expensive. It is only when data is encrypted that special software has to be used involving extra cost. There is no reason why Samuel's computer hard drive should have been encrypted.
Mark's legal team should have access to Samuel's computers and mobile phones so it is for them to extract the date contained within them in order to create a history and timeline of usage.
Unlike our American counterparts, there is a presumption against automatic disclosure of police exhibits and prosecution files to those seeking to challenge a wrongful conviction here in the UK. We do not yet have the legislative backing to access files relating to our cases as a matter of right. This undermines transparency in a justice system that should be bending over backwards to correct miscarriages of justice and doing everything in its power to assist potential casualties. If the police are confident about the decisions they have made, then they should not be afraid to subject them to scrutiny where they are called into question. The problem was of course, most recently highlighted in the case of Kevin Nunn. The current situation gives the impression at least that the authorities either have something to hide, or are actively seeking to hinder the efforts of miscarriage of justice victims and their families – a suspicion most vividly aroused in the ongoing Hillsborough and Orgreave campaigns. Parliament needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency and devise a fairer and more open procedure – not dissimilar to those enjoyed by prisoners in many other jurisdictions.
All the computers and laptops in my own case were seized by the police and remain in their possession. We only had sight of data extracted from targeted keyword searches during my trial. We are currently trying to get hold of copies of the hard drive images to analyse in more depth, but the police have so far refused to disclose these, or indeed any of the other exhibits we have requested.