Fake text messages – beware of using texts as evidence

January 14, 2014

in Litigation & Dispute Resolution

iStock_000018766927SmallIn the age of electronic and mobile technology, clients are more often seeking to rely on electronic messages such as emails and text messages in Court proceedings in support of their position or to discredit the other parties’ evidence.

A recent matter which found its way to the Employment Relations Authority highlighted the dangers in relying on text messages as evidence.  Essentially the Respondent to the proceedings claimed to have received a text message from Applicant.  The contents of the text message changed the Applicant’s position drastically and assisted the Respondent’s case.  The Applicant however swore under oath and during cross examination that the text message had never been sent and claimed there was no record of sending it.

After the hearing the Applicant did some of their own research and discovered that it is possible to fake text messages in phones and managed to create fake text messages on a mobile phone to demonstrate this.

Experts have shown that the forensics that can be undertaken on, particularly iPhones and Android phones is significant and thousands of deleted texts can be recovered with the right software and skills.

You therefore need to be cautious about text messages being portrayed as legitimate evidence as there is no guarantee that the contents are truthful.

If you require any advice or further information on the matters dealt with in this publication please contact the lawyer in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact:

Kirsten Maclean


09 379 0055 or 03 477 8870


The information contained in this publication is intended as a guide only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Farry and Co. does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. 

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