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What would you like to know about this? Are you asking if they can do this? If so, I will need to know the legislation relied upon?
Which legislation did the letter refer to?
Ok. Does it quote a section?
They do have the right to make an application for forfeiture under S5 here
and the only test is whether or not they appear to be indecent images.
Had you consented they would not have needed to go to court and costs would not have been an issue but we can't turn back time.
The question, of course, is not the indecent images but the innocent ones. You do have the right to make representations under S5 that those pictures should not be destroyed but it would appear you didn't attend which is a problem.
You can always appeal to the Crown Court but you need to be aware that will rack up costs if you lose.
They are not going to let you or a third party handle evidence of this nature I'm afraid. When expressed like that you can probably see the risks. You need to convince a court that this can be done without unreasonable expense.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Whether there is an investigation is a non issue. They can still forfeit unlawful images.
Had you posted earlier I would have told you to consent to avoid costs as this was the only order they were going to make I'm afraid.
I think I covered the issue of legitimate content above?
They only have to satisfy the court that the images are unlawful under S5. They can do that in other ways than actually producing the image.
The fact that they handed back a different drive doesn't mean this one is not of interest. It might mean they shouldn't have handed back that one or there might be a distinction to be drawn between them. We don't know on what basis this was put
I don't think I can really add very muh I'm afraid.