Phone calls and texts made from Michael Rafferty’s BlackBerry on the day Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford disappeared was the focus of his murder trial Thursday.
Jurors were shown a map covering Woodstock, Guelph and Mount Forest, Ont., tracking the calls made from his BlackBerry on April 8, 2009.
The timing and locations of the calls roughly correspond to testimony given earlier in the trial by Terri-Lynne McClintic, one of Rafferty’s former girlfriends, who has already been convicted of Tori’s murder.
Rafferty, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm in the April 8, 2009, disappearance of eight-year-old Tori.
David Broad, a Bell Canada Enterprises manager, testified on the technical aspects of Bell Mobility cellular.
The network keeps records on the number of the cellphone calling, the number called, the time and duration, and the cell towers used to relay the signal.
Using information provided by Bell, the police were able to determine that calls from Rafferty’s cellphone were made from the Mount Forest area on the day Tori disappeared and the location of the cell towers were used to narrow the search for her body.
Broad said Bell officials were able to map the voice and data calls placed from Rafferty’s phone.
The calls started in the Woodstock-Drumbo area just after noon on April 8.
Voice and data calls made around 4 p.m. from the Cambridge and Guelph areas.
More calls were made from the Mount Forest/Arthur area just before 6 p.m and again around 8 p.m.
Finally, there were calls from Drumbo-Woodstock after 11 p.m.
Mustafa Bahktyar, a Bell engineer, said tests showed the cell network was working well between Woodstock and Mount Forest on April 8, 2009.
But under cross-examination by defence lawyer Dirk Derstine, Bahktyar said it can be difficult to pinpoint the location of a BlackBerry user from cell tower data because there a number of variables such as local geography and network traffic.
There was also testimony by two employees of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.
RIM analyst Jennifer Youngs presented a long list of BlackBerry Messages (BBM) made from Rafferty’s cellphone to other BlackBerry users.
There were 5,800 entries for Rafferty between April 8 and May 19, although one message can produce up to seven entries on the log.
RIM manager Reginald Wilton explained the workings of the BBM system and how delays in delivering messages occur.
McClintic has testified Rafferty removed the battery from his BlackBerry at one point after Tory was abducted.
The trial continues Friday.