One of New Zealand's highest-ranking military officers may have searched details about a covert camera and later downloaded software to delete computer files, his internet history shows.

A hidden camera was discovered in one of the bathrooms at New Zealand's embassy in Washington DC in July 2017.

Former Royal New Zealand Navy commodore Alfred (Fred) Keating is accused of planting the filming device in a unisex bathroom at the embassy in the American capital.

The 59-year-old is now on trial in the Auckland District Court this week, charged with attempting to make an intimate visual recording of another person.

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This afternoon, the court viewed the internet search history from the former Devonport Naval Base commander's laptop, which was recovered by a digital forensics officer after police raided Keating's home.

On July 25, 2017 - just two days before the device was found in the bathroom - an internet search on Keating's laptop was made for BrickHouse Security, the camera's brand name.

The Google searches at about midnight Washington time included, "Brickhouse camscura modes" and "Brickhouse camscura switch positions".

The laptop was also used to visit BrickHouse Security web pages eight times between March 25, 2017 and July 25, the court was shown.

A further search on Amazon via the search engine Bing for BrickHouse Security was made on July 25, about 20 minutes after midnight.

Then on September 17, 2017 the computer software CCleaner was searched and purportedly downloaded and installed, the court heard.

CCleaner is described online as a program which can delete temporary or unwanted files on a computer.

Alfred Keating was a commodore and one of the navy's highest-ranking officers. Photo / Supplied
Alfred Keating was a commodore and one of the navy's highest-ranking officers. Photo / Supplied

Earlier in the day, the former Royal New Zealand Air Force's attache to the United States Wayne Morris told the court he noticed a black box in the same bathroom some months prior to its July discovery.

The now wing commander was working under Keating, who was New Zealand's senior defence attache to the US, at the time.

Morris said he noticed a side panel on the bathroom's radiator was missing.

Inside he saw what appeared to be an electronic device. However, he dismissed his curiosity, believing the black box to be a heat control unit.

"You saw a camera two or three months earlier?" Keating's lawyer Ron Mansfield asked Morris.

"Yes," Morris nodded.

"There's no doubt in your mind is there?" Mansfield probed.

"No," Morris said.

Criticism was also levelled by Mansfield at the methods used to test for DNA on the camera.

It was the same type of analysis used in the controversial prosecution of Amanda Knox, the court heard.

Environmental Science and Research forensic scientist Sue Vintiner yesterday told the court an "ultra-sensitive" DNA test was conducted on swab samples taken from the camera and memory card.

She said a male DNA profile was found on the SD card and matched that of Keating's.

The DNA was "10,000 million times more likely" to have come from the former Assistant Chief of Navy than another person with the same DNA profile, Vintiner said.

But Mansfield questioned the scientist about the methods used to "enhance tiny, tiny amounts of DNA" from the swabs.

Alfred Keating is accused of attempting to make an intimate visual recording of another person at the New Zealand embassy in Washington DC. Photo / Supplied
Alfred Keating is accused of attempting to make an intimate visual recording of another person at the New Zealand embassy in Washington DC. Photo / Supplied

The "low copy number DNA test" is not used by some overseas jurisdictions because of the high-risk of contamination and cost, the court heard.

Vintiner said the low copy testing had also been used in the case of Amanda Knox, who was acquitted of murdering her roommate after spending almost four years in an Italian prison.

Sean Hoey was also prosecuted largely on the back of low copy DNA testing for the deadliest single attack of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the 1998 Omagh bombing.

But Hoey was acquitted of the Real IRA blast which left 29 people dead, with a Belfast judge criticising the forensic evidence.

Vintiner, however, said while contamination of the embassy camera was unlikely she could "not completely exclude it".

She added if the DNA profile matching Keating's was found simply because the camera was located in a bathroom or had been handled by another person she would have expected to see a mix of other DNA traces.

This would "represent the environment [the camera] was in".

But all plausible scenarios for how Keating's DNA profile come to be on the memory card were still possible, Vintiner said.

"We don't know the source, the timing or how old it was," Mansfield said of the DNA.

Keating pleaded not guilty last March and two days later resigned from his post in the New Zealand Defence Force, ending a more than 40-year career.

The military leader from Northland also served as New Zealand's naval attache and senior technical officer for the navy to the US from July 2003 until December 2006.

The trial, which began on Monday, is expected to last two weeks.