It centred around Nathan using his correct name and details to buy the boat equipment, in what he said was a sign the vessel was intended for legitimate purposes.
On Friday, Nathan returned to the Court of Appeal, representing himself. He accused Copley’s team of “incompetence” by not passing on his appeal instructions correctly.
He said, “for the past 10 months … arguments that I wanted to proceed with were not advanced”.
Nathan argued the three phones he was found with did not prove he was behind the encrypted account “Thunderbutt” that communicated with Dru and Draper mid-voyage.
Nathan said he unlocked the first phone for police and it did not have the encrypted messaging apps Wickr or Threema, which had been used to orchestrate the drug plot.
Nathan also unlocked a second phone, but then said he could not open Wickr or Threema. However, he said this phone was not used in the crime because it was found not to have been used for months.
A third phone, an encrypted Cipher phone, was not unlocked for police, but Nathan claimed that phone could not “make calls, make text messages or download other apps” such as Wickr or Threema.
A fourth phone police believe might have been linked to “Thunderbutt” has never been found. Police allege Nathan could have disposed of it before he was searched.
“I was under constant police surveillance from the moment I was in Brunswick Heads until the moment I was searched and at no time was I ever seen disposing of anything,” Nathan argued.
“When I was searched I was found to not have that phone, I did not have that phone because it was never me [communicating with the boat].”
In response, prosecutor Sarah Farnden said Phone 4 was pinging off a tower in Brunswick Heads on the morning Nathan was found near the boat ramp where Dru and Draper were meant to return.
She said the phone could have already been disposed of in the area, and it would still ping off nearby cell towers.
The Court of Appeal judges will deliver its decision on Nathan’s appeal at a later date.