Los Angeles, Aug 21 : The lead detective in Indian fashion designer Anand Jon's case destroyed evidence that was crucial to the defence.
George Elwell was ordered in to court by the presiding judge, David S Wesley when it was determined last week by the defence that evidence handed over to the detective in September 2007 was not booked into the evidence log until July 31, 2008 - 11 months later.
The detective admitted to looking at it, reading it, and remembering passages from it. He admitted that it was clearly relevant to the case.
However, his answers were confusing when Judge Wesely asked 'How can a detective, with seventeen years on the force, not book important evidence immediately'.
Elwell talked about procedure and not having to book paper documents immediately. This seemed to confuse the judge, as the evidence was clearly exculpatory.
The evidence involves emails between one of the alleged victims and Anand Jon. It also included a chat between one of the major prosecution witnesses and a mystery person. That mystery person is the key. And everyone is clamour to find the identity.
In the chat, the mystery man talks about hacking into Anand Jon's computers. Moreover, the chat discusses in detail attorney-client information, communication and strategy.
The hacker went through files, documents, images, etc. He / she then directed the accusers to remove / destroy / delete relevant evidence that may help Anand Jon.
Even more alarming, the hacker hacked into the attorney's computer and comments on the attorney's activities. It doesn't end there.
The defense attorney, Mr. Marks, quickly brought up five separate issues that may equate to tampering with witness statements. Positive statements given about Anand Jon were wiped under the carpet.
In one, Elwell re-connected with the witness to verify information from a previous statement - problem is Elwell never turned in a previous statement.
That is a problem for the prosecution. The defense continued questioning Detective Elwell's admitted destruction of evidence, mostly in the form of emails; delay in booking of evidence that is crucial to the defense and exculpatory evidence that was withheld from defense that could point to the innocence of Jon.
Defense attorney, Chase, commented that there are too many bizarre coincidences involving technology - from the admitted hacking to the hiding of critical evidence to the break in at the family's security building in the middle of the day with no forced entry.
He reminded the court that only three computers were stolen - nothing else. Jewelry, money, etc. left alone. Only the laptops with attorney - client information were stolen.
Elwell was caught in many errors, misrepresentations and, as it would seem, clear violations of ethics and protocol.