The approach described by ACC Page is grossly inadequate.
Remember he claimed that the investigation was of a standard comparable to a murder inquiry. He either had an unusual sense of humour in claiming that or a brass neck.
Below this long extract from ACC Page's oral testimony given on the morning of 3rd September 2003 (see pages 33 to 36) I'll briefly discuss some of the things that ought to have been done that appear not to have been done.
12 Q. That can go off the screen. What other material was
13 recovered from his house, just in general terms?
14 A. A range of documents, but principally computer equipment
15 and associated hardware, CDs, that type of thing.
16 Q. What have you done to analyse the computer equipment?
17 A. Well, there is a vast amount of equipment.
18 Q. Can you tell us what equipment there was?
19 A. I can, my Lord. If I can -- I will very quickly go
20 through the technical details. We seized one NJN tower
21 PC with a 6 gigabyte disk, 3.4 gigabytes of which had
22 been used.
23 Q. So he used over half the capacity of the machine?
24 A. On that particular machine, yes.
25 Q. If I decided to print out the whole of those contents
1 that he used, what sort of mound of paper would I end up
3 A. I am advised by our computer technical people that of
4 all the memory that we have seized from Dr Kelly's
5 various computers --
6 Q. So from all the computers together?
7 A. From all the computers, if we were to print it out it
8 would produce a pile of paper twice as high as Big Ben.
9 Q. You have obviously not printed out or have you printed
10 out that amount of paper?
11 A. No, my Lord, we have not. What we have done is every
12 disk in our possession we have interrogated using
13 a number of key words which we felt would highlight any
14 data that would be of interest to police inquiries.
15 Q. What is an example of a key word?
16 A. "Suicide", "despair".
17 Q. Have you put in, for example, "Iraq"?
18 A. Yes, we have put in "Iraq".
19 Q. Right. And other key words of that nature?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And have you extracted anything as a result of those key
22 word searches?
23 A. We have extracted a number of documents, e-mails and so
25 Q. And where was this process carried out?
1 A. It was carried out on premises in Thames Valley, our
2 technical premises which I will not disclose the
3 location of, if you do not mind.
4 Q. Who did the work?
5 A. A technical computer technician employed by Thames
6 Valley Police as a forensic computer specialist.
7 Q. You recovered quite a lot of material from that and you
8 have shared relevant material with the Inquiry, is that
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. You were telling us what computers you have recovered
12 from the scene. We had got to the stack, I think.
13 A. In addition to the NJN tower PC, we seized a Palm M505
15 Q. What is that?
16 A. Personal Digital Assistant, one of the small hand-held
17 computers, 12 megabyte disk, and everything had been
18 used on that. We seized a Dell tower PC with a disk
19 size of 55.9 gigabytes, 16.7 gigabytes of which had been
20 used. We seized a Toshiba laptop with a disk size of
21 3.8 gigabytes, 1.6 gigabytes of which had been used. We
22 seized a Dell laptop with a disk size of 9.3 gigabytes,
23 7.9 gigabytes of which had been used, and we seized
24 a further Dell laptop with a disk size of 55.9
25 gigabytes, 6.1 gigabytes of which had been used. We
1 seized one card-style laptop which was faulty and
2 therefore we have been unable to access. We retrieved
3 one hard-drive of 406 megabytes which has not been used,
4 and we also, from the Ministry of Defence, seized
5 a tower PC with a disk size of 3 gigabytes, 2.4
6 gigabytes of which had been used.
Notice the large amount of information that conveys essentially nothing. It is simply regurgitating technical detail of the computers. It tells us nothing about what David Kelly used the computers for.
The purpose of examining the computers ought to be to understand what was in David Kelly's mind, not mechanically list the characteristics of his computers.
A "key word" search is something that a computer forensics expert might have done as a "quick and dirty" first look.
However, a serious examination of the computers would need detailed understanding of David Kelly's life and why he might have been murdered.
Only then can specific email correspondence, for example, be looked for. For example, it would be of enormous interest to know if David Kelly had email contact with Judith Miller in the period leading up to her New York Times article which debunked the "mobile weapons labs" nonsense.
Similarly, it would have been of interest to look for all email contacts with Andrew Gilligan. Was there, for example, email contact in the period leading up to the leak in February 2003 of the Top Secret Defeence Intelligence Staff document rubbishing the supposed link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein?
There is a notable gap in David Kelly's diary for April 2003. What was he doing then? A diligent and competent Police investigation would have taken steps to fill in those gaps by examining the computer files (not least the emails) for April 2003.
Worryingly, diligence and competence are not accusations that can be fairly levelled at Thames Valley Police's investigation; of the computer evidence or more widely.
With respect to examination of the computers, ACC Page's evidence leads me to conclude that on this aspect of the case there was gross "insufficiency of inquiry".