An image of a civil servant tied and gagged to a chair wasn’t taken at the time she claimed it was. A digital expert explained this to a tribunal.  

DeAnn Fitzpatrick, who was employed by Marine Scotland, was taped to a seat in a photograph that went viral during the height of the MeToo movement in 2018.   

After the photograph was taken, there was a national uproar and an investigation by Scotland’s Government until it was questioned as to its legitimacy.   

A digital forensic expert now claims that the image was captured in August 2009 and not December 2010, as Ms Fitzpatrick claimed.  

Ms. Fitzpatrick claims she was made to suffer because she whistleblower was reporting on the misogyny, abuse and incompetence in Scrabster’s Caithness office.  

But she was later fired because she had lied to bosses about the time and nature of her incident.   

Now, she’s suing an employment tribunal because the Canadian citizen who fired her claims that the firing was unjust. She wants to be reinstated at Marine Scotland.  

 Ms Fitzpatrick is also claiming she was dismissed because of whistleblowing.

It is now claimed by a digital forensic expert that the image of DeAnn Fitzpatrick tied to a chair (pictured) was taken in August 2009, not December 2010

A digital forensic specialist now claims that DeAnn Fitzpatrick’s image (pictured), which shows her tied to a chair, was actually taken in August 2009 and not December 2010.

She spoke last Sunday to Mail On Sunday.

“I lost everything. Even my name. I was able to keep the job that I loved.

‘But I want to stand up for myself and every other human being who has ever been spat on, called a w***e, told to go f*** themselves, knocked in the head, had their glasses knocked off their face, racially abused, mocked for having a miscarriage, taken advantage of when their mental health is suffering and physically assaulted when they speak out in their place of work.’ 

There are strict restrictions on what evidence Ms Fitzpatrick (originally from Canada) can present to support her claim for wrongful dismissal. The Government’s legal team has opposed the submission of several key documents including the damning diary that her union rep ordered her to keep after she raised concerns about workplace bullying.

Its entries list examples of her being frequently called a ‘f****** r****d’, a ‘f****** foreign Canadian b***h’ and snide remarks following a miscarriage and the length of time she was off work as a result.

Ms Fitzpatrick (pictured) is also claiming she was dismissed from her job because of whistleblowing

Ms. Fitzpatrick, (pictured), also claims that she was terminated from her job due to whistleblowing

James Borwick, digital expert and speaker at the hearing, said that he had been asked by the body to investigate the image and some emails.   

Andrew Gibson representing Marine Scotland asked, “With what level of certainty can this photograph be said that it was taken on 10 August 2009, and not 16 December 2010, and why?”

Borwick was a digital expert who visited a Marine Scotland office at Campbeltown in Argyll & Bute to view the original photo on the agency’s server.  

He stated that he had examined a picture called DF.jpeg that was kept on the SCOTS servers. The picture’s creation date was 2009 and its last modified date is 2009. It contained the exact same date, which he said was 2009, as well.

“So I can be certain that the item has not been altered in any manner whatsoever.”

Witness Mr Gibson stated to Mr Gibson: “If Ms Fitzpatrick believes me, this file was taken 16 months later.”  

Witness said that if Ms. Fitzpatrick maintained that the photo was taken in 2010, then December 2010 would be the date of creation.

Borwick stated that it was possible to change the date of creation on an image. This is difficult and would require marking the files.   

Ms. Fitzpatrick, in cross-examination said to the witness: “In your summary you have stated that file DF.Jpg was given to you and that you were asked when it was created.

“After examining the file, you stated that it had been created using the Apple iPhone on the 10th of August 2009.

Are you still in agreement with this statement?

He said, “Yes, I do.”

Ms. Fitzpatrick questioned: “Isn’t it possible that the metadata indicated that it could have been created on 10 December 2009?”

Borwick stated that he did not know the answer. According to Mr Borwick, the file was originally created in 2009 and therefore meant that the image existed in 2009.

Ms. Fitzpatrick said: “Are you 100% certain that the Df.jpg analyzed on the Scots Server was created on 10 August 2009?” Is that still your belief?

The witness answered, “Yes.

The hearing was told by digital expert James Borwick that he was asked to look into the photograph and a number of emails in the case as part of the disciplinary investigation by the body. Pictured: Ms Fitzpatrick

James Borwick, digital expert and speaker at the hearing, said that he had been asked by the body to examine the photo and several emails involved in the case. Pictured: Ms Fitzpatrick

David Wallace, an experienced civil servant who had spoken at the trial and made the decision not to dismiss Fitzpatrick. 

He replied, “Do you think I’m jollies? Do you mind tape being put over my mouth?”

He said that he didn’t think such behavior was acceptable in an office setting, however, he believed that they were different from what happened in 2010, which was a result whistleblowing.

“It was in 2009. Different circumstances.”

Ms. Fitzpatrick also asked the following: “Why would I deliberately lie about something that occurred to me?”

Mr Wallace answered: “I assume that the construction of the story which stated that the photograph had been taken 2010 and not 2009 was beneficial for you in some manner, therefore why you initially claimed that the photograph was taken on 2010.

“I believe that this was the reason for me doing it. However, beyond that, I am unsure if that’s something I can say.

Alexander Kemp is the employment judge.

The tribunal, before employment judge Alexander Kemp, continues. Pictured: Ms Fitzpatrick in 2018

Alexander Kemp was the first to address the tribunal. Pictured: Ms Fitzpatrick in 2018