Below are a few case studies, the first two are criminal cases that got extensive coverage in the press. The third relates to a a civil case involving lightning protection.
DPP v Paul Ward
This was a case which had massive implications for law and order in Ireland for years afterwards. Veronica Guerin was shot & murdered while sitting in slow traffic on the Naas Road on the afternoon of 26th June 1996. A full length feature film was later made about Veronica's life and death.
Two men on a motorbike were observed by several eye witnesses. Paul Ward was accused of being one of them. His mobile phone was recovered from him on his arrest.
During the case the Defence argued that the mobile phone did belong to the defendant but the SIM card had been cloned. The DPP then requested the attendance of an expert as a prosecution witness to rebuff this argument.
At that time the expert witness was responsible for end to end security and technical procurement of all the SIMs in Ireland belonging to the network from which the defendant’s SIM came. The expert had been involved in the design of GSM SIM cards during the initial development of the SIM at standards committees. The expert was a C. Eng. MIEI and held an honours science degree from UCG.
As a result of the expert's testimony that part of the defence's case was discredited. The defendant was convicted.
DPP v M. Lingurar Jnr.
The phone evidence was, in the words of the senior prosecution barrister (Patrick Gageby SC), the “clincher” in this case. The defendant was adamant throughout his statements to the Gardai that he was home in bed with the phone beside him in Claregalway when the murder occurred at around 2am on the morning of the 25th September 2011 over in Oughterard. My reports consisted of colour cell site plots drawn up from O2’s records showing the possible places the phone could have been when it was receiving calls around that time. In my expert opinion the number of calls and the coverage areas of the cells in question put beyond all reasonable doubt that the phone was in fact in the region of Oughterard and on the N59 (Galway to Moycullen to Oughterard) and could not have been at the place the defendant said it was (i.e. Claregalway) at the time of the murder. The Gardai and barristers then were able to use this to conclude that the defendant was lying and the jury took this into account when reaching their verdict.
A.N.Other v Telecom Eireann
A farmer was electrocuted and died when he answered a phone during a lightning storm. The prosecution argued that the lightning protection at the premises was not carried out according to Telecom Eireann's own standards. On the surface it looked like the protection was put in correctly but when a little digging was done, an industrial bolt was discovered where an earth rod should have been. This "thunderbolt" led to the case being settled.