State: Shane Todd's laptop could not have been accessed remotely after his death

The State Counsel on Wednesday countered a suggestion by lawyers representing the family of Shane Todd, saying that the American researcher's laptop could not have been accessed remotely after his death.

Testifying for the state at the third day of a coroner's inquiry, Assistant Superintendent of Police Soong Yen Peng from the Technology Crime Forensic Branch (TCFB), said that forensic analysis of the laptop showed no traces of remote access or hacking.

There was also no malicious software installed on the laptop and only had a single, password-protected user account, which showed no history of failed log-ins, she added. ASP Soong's testimony came after lawyer for the Todd family Peter Ong asked her whether it was possible for someone to remotely access the laptop and upload documents to it.

This was in reference to suicide notes apparently left behind by Dr Todd for his family and friends in a PDF document found on the laptop after his body was discovered last June.

Other findings by the TCFB - that Dr Todd had searched for suicide-related websites, was also challenged by Mr Ong. He said words such as "noose", "hangman", "short-drop" and others that turned up during the TCFB examination of the laptop could have been for news articles about suicide. This was because Dr Todd had a friend named 'Andrew' whom he believed had killed himself.

Mr Ong also noted that an HTC mobile phone seized by an investigation officer at the scene of Dr Todd's death had been accessed afterwards between Jun 25 and 29 last year.

He suggested that evidence on the phone could have been altered by this and sought to question ASP Soong on the nature of the phone usage.

To this, State Coroner Chay Yuen Fatt said that a representative from the service provider StarHub would be better placed to answer questions on call and data logs, and the investigation officer and not ASP Soong should answer questions about why the phone had been accessed.

Dr Todd was found hanged in his apartment near Chinatown on June 24 last year. His parents believe he was murdered.

The inquiry continues for the three day.

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