Our client was involved in a contentious court case. The counterparty to the case claimed that one of the letters submitted to them as documentary evidence had been fabricated.
Were the counterparty’s accusations true?
• Deloitte acquired a forensic copy of the computer on which the document in question was known to have been written. (It is more reliable to analyse a document in the context of the computer on which it has been written, than simply by itself).
• Deloitte analysed the buried metadata within the document to determine its origin, creation date, date of last printing and other key information.
• Deloitte determined that the actual creation date of the letter was months later than the date given on the letter itself. This meant that the letter was, indeed, probably a fake.
• Deloitte assisted the client in reviewing the validity of all other exhibits to the case. Deloitte also helped the client perform a sweep of their systems for more evidence that might be relevant to the case.
It is far more straightforward to analyse documents in electronic form rather than printing them out and analysing in hardcopy. Electronic discovery is typically more efficient, more complete and far less expensive than conventional paper based discovery. It also means that reliance is not placed on paper documents – documents that have become a lot more straightforward to forge or alter since word-processing software appeared on every desktop.
Not all Irish lawyers are familiar with electronic discovery techniques, so it always wise to raise it as an option early in any litigation process.
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