iPhone saves man from rape charges
Robert*, in his 60s, was a property manager to the rich and famous and a dog breeder.
Jessica* was the 18-year-old daughter of a friend, who never knew her father and dreamed of working with animals.
Their friendship blossomed as they spent mornings training his prize German shepherds. He gave her a $20,000 dog. For three months, they had sex repeatedly en route to dog shows and at a Whale Beach mansion where Elle Macpherson has stayed.
In August last year she accused him of rape. It was - and remains - a case of his word against hers.
Robert lost a job with the Catholic Church, from which he had earned more than $100,000 over the past three years, and was told he could no longer worship there.
The investigating officer, Detective Senior Constable Karen Hennessy, seized the $20,000 dog, saying it was relevant to the investigation.
The only thing standing between Robert and five sentences of up to 14 years were the messages from her on his iPhone, which he had deleted to conceal the relationship.
Robert's lawyer, John Gooley from Collins & Thompson solicitors, commissioned Gary Coulthart, a former covert operations policeman and ICAC surveillance expert, to plumb the depths of Robert's iPhone.
Mr Coulthart retrieved more than 300 deleted texts and phone calls from the alleged victim, some of which appeared to undermine the allegations.
Prosecutors later withdrew the charges and have been ordered to pay $30,056 of Robert's legal costs.
''Without the ability of Coulthart to drag the content out, a man's life may have been ruined,'' Mr Gooley said. ''[iPhone evidence is] a bit like DNA. It can work both ways.'' . . .
The keyboard logging cache means an expert can retrieve anything typed on it for up to 12 months. . . . .
Seizing the $20,000 dog seems overdoing it. I understand the issue of evidence and the fact that evidence can be destroyed, but if the police really thought that the woman had been raped, is it necessary to seize her dog? Aren't there penalties for the destruction of evidence?