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Interception case

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No 200400234/B5
Neutral Citation Number [2004] EWCA Crim 1243
Royal Courts of Justice
London, WC2

Monday, 26th April 2004




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Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of
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MR MEEKE QC appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT
MR I GLEN QC & MR W HART appeared on behalf of the CROWN
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(As Approved by the Court)
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1. MR JUSTICE HUGHES This appellant is one of a number of accused due to be tried in the Crown Court for offences of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs of different descriptions. A preparatory hearing was held pursuant to section 29 of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. At it the trial judge ruled admissible evidence of recordings which had been made by a surveillance device secreted in the accused's car by investigating police officers.

2. This appeal is brought under section 35 of the 1996 Act to establish, before the trial, whether that ruling is correct or not.

3. It raises questions relating to the construction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, to which we shall subsequently refer by its customary initials as RIPA.. It also raises questions as to the impact upon that matter of European Commission Directive 97/66.

4. The learned judge granted leave to appeal so that the matter could be brought before this Court without delay.

5. All that it is necessary to say about the facts is this. In the course of an investigation into suspected drugs dealings on a substantial scale and as part of quite extensive observation procedures the police obtained permission under the Police Act 1997 and RIPA to place a listening device in the accused's car. It provided recordings of words spoken in that car over two periods, one of about 4 weeks and the second about 4 days.

6. The Crown asserts that those recordings help to prove the accused guilty of the offences charged and it wishes to adduce them in evidence. The accused contends that they are inadmissible.

7. The words spoken and recorded included the following. First, words spoken by the accused to other people who joined him in the car. Second, words spoken by those other people to him. Third, words spoken by the accused when in the car and using a mobile telephone. The device recorded the accused's end of any such telephone conversations. It did not pick up any speech from whoever it was to whom the accused was speaking. Quite a substantial part of the total speech recorded in the car consisted of the accused speaking into his mobile telephone. It may be that it was approaching or as much as half of the total recorded material.

8. It is the fact that this third category of speech was recorded by the listening device, which gives rise to the argument mounted on behalf of the accused, that all the evidence of the product of the device is inadmissible.

9. Placing the listening device in the accused's car involved entry into his private vehicle. That entry was lawful, under section 92 of the Police Act 1997, only if it was properly authorised under that Act. That meant, in summary, that it needed to be authorised by the Chief Constable of the relevant force and that that authority was subsequently approved by a Commissioner appointed for the purposes of the Act, who will be a person either holding or having held high judicial office. For those propositions see section 91(5) and 97(1) of the 1997 Act.

10. A listening device of this kind also constitutes intrusive surveillance, as that expression is defined by section 26(3), (4) and (5) of RIPA. Whether any separate authority is needed in a case where Police Act authority is given is a question on which we have not heard detailed argument. But authority was in fact given under RIPA as well and at a similar high level and also subject to notification to a Commissioner.

11. We are, if we may say so, grateful to both Mr Meeke QC and Mr Glen QC for carefully and concisely made submissions in this case. We should record also the assistance that we have derived from a discussion and analysis undertaken by Professor Ormerod and Mr McKay published in the Crim LR 2004, page 15, albeit that we are unable to endorse some of the conclusions there suggested.

12. Mr Meeke argues that the evidence produced by the listening device is inadmissible. His submissions are these

1. What occurred was "interception" of the telephone calls made by the accused when he was in the car;

2. therefore, they were either interceptions authorised by a warrant of the Secretary of State, issued under section 5 of RIPA or, if they were not, they constituted an offence of unlawful interception, contrary to section 1(1) of the same Act and committed by police officers;

3. whichever of those two possibilities was the correct one, the consequence of section 17 of RIPA is that the evidence of intercepted calls is inadmissible;

4. alternatively, if the second possibility is the correct one and what happened was an offence of unlawful interception, then evidence of intercepted calls resulting from it should be excluded pursuant to section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Those first four submissions are the principal ones with which we have to deal. In relation, however, to all the recorded material, including that which was not recorded when the accused was using a telephone, Mr Meeke makes the following additional submissions

5. Because the police officers knew that they were likely to record conversations made when the accused was using his mobile telephone or, failing that, because, as the surveillance proceeded they knew that that was what was in fact happening, it was their duty to tell the Chief Constable and the Commissioners so, either when applying for authorities or subsequently as the position became clear.

6. They did not do so specifically, and their failure to discharge that duty represents a lack of candour amounting to either to bad faith, or at least to something which might have the appearance of bad faith to the accused. Accordingly, it was a misuse of the authorisation system such as deliberately to infringe the rights of the accused under, amongst other things, Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result the Chief Constable and the Commissioner were deprived of the opportunity to given informed consent to what was proposed.

7. Accordingly the court should exclude, under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, all the material gathered by a listening device, for which authority had thus wrongly been obtained. That should include not only the telephone material, but also ordinary conversations between persons in the car, on the broad ground that the application which had been made for authority was tainted.

13. Section 1(1) of the RIPA provides as follows

"(1) It shall be an offence for a person intentionally and without lawfully authority to intercept, at any place in the United Kingdom, any communication in the course of its transmission by means of…..
(b) a public telecommunication system."

Section 17(1)(a) provides as follows
"Subject to section 18, no evidence shall be adduced, question asked, assertion or disclosure made or other things done in, for the purposes of or in connection with any legal proceedings which (in any manner)-
(a) discloses, in circumstances from which its origin in anything falling within subsection (2) may be inferred, any of the contents of an intercepted communication or any related communications data…"
Not all evidence of interception is accordingly necessarily inadmissible. What is inadmissible is evidence where it may be inferred to have its origin in something falling within section 17(2). Moreover, the exception in section 18 must not apply.

14. For present purposes, it is necessary to look at section 17(2) which provides, so far as relevant, as follows

"(2) The following fall within this subsection-
(a) conduct by a person falling within subsection (3) that was or would be an offence under section 1(1) or (2) of this Act or under section 1 of the Interception of Communications Act 1985….
© the issue of an interception warrant or of a warrant under the Interception of communications Act 1985".

For the purposes of that subsection 17(2)(a), a person falling within section 17(3) includes a police officer.

15. The result of that is that if there was an interception pursuant to a warrant from the Secretary of State, evidence of the contents of it is inadmissible. Such contents are equally inadmissible if there was an interception without a warrant, which was the result of an offence by the police officer against section 1(1). Although section 17 is expressly made subject to section 18, in the present case none of the exceptions provided for in that second section applied.

16. Furthermore, there is an offence against section 1(1) only if the interception is carried out without lawful authority. Sections 3 and 4 provide statutory authority, in certain cases, including those where both parties to a telephone conversation consent, or are reasonably believed to do so and those where one party consents and surveillance authority under part 2 of the RIPA is in force. However, none of those situations provided for by any of sections 3, 4 or 18 apply in the present case.

17. We are accordingly satisfied that, if what happened here was interception, evidence of the content of any telephone calls is rendered inadmissible by section 17(1)(a). If it was interception, it is therefore unnecessary to get as far as the discretionary power to exclude evidence pursuant to section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.. Accordingly, Mr Meeke's fourth submission does not arise for consideration. It follows that the critical question is whether what occurred here was interception.

18. We are not here concerned with recording both sides of the telephone conversations by one or other of the participants - something which sometimes is referred to as "participant monitoring". What happened here was that the listening device picked up what the accused said in the car. It did not distinguish between what he said to a companion in the car and what he said into his mobile telephone. What he said into his mobile telephone was certainly recorded. The question is whether it was also, at those times when he was on the telephone, intercepted.

19. Interception is defined in the Act, by section 2 (2)

"(2) For the purposes of this Act, but subject to following provisions of this section, a person intercepts a communication in the course of its transmission by means of a telecommunications system if, and only if, he-
(a) so modifies or interferes with the system, or its operation
(b) so monitors transmissions made by means of the system, or
© so monitors transmissions made by wireless telegraphy to or from apparatus comprised in the system.
as to make some or all of the contents of the communication available, while being transmitted, to a person other than the sender or intended recipient of the communication."

We should set out also subsection (8) of the same section
"(8) For the purposes of this section the cases in which any contents of a communication are to be taken to be made available to a person while being transmitted shall include any case in which any of the contents of the communication, while being transmitted, are diverted or recorded so as to be available to a person subsequently."

The critical words are "in the course of transmission", which, it will be seen, appear also in the offence-creating section, section 1 (1). One should note also the use of the expression "whilst being transmitted" in both section 2(2) and 2(8).

20. In our view, the natural meaning of the expression 'interception' denotes some inference or abstraction of the signal, whether it is passing along wires or by wireless telegraphy, during the process of transmission. The recording of a person's voice, independently of the fact that at the time he is using a telephone, does not become interception simply because what he says goes not only go into the recorder, but, by separate process, is transmitted by a telecommunications system. That view is consistent with the expressions contained in the Act to which we have drawn attention.

21. Interception, moreover, as section 2(2) closely defines it, is concerned with what happens in the course of transmission by "a telecommunications system." Section 2(1) defines a telecommunications system in the following terms

"Any system… which exists… for the purpose of facilitating the transmission of communications by any means, involving the use of electrical or electromagnetic energy."
Thus, the system begins at point A with the conversion of sound waves from the maker of the call into electrical or electromagnetic energy.

22. What was recorded here was what happened independently of the operation of the telecommunications system. Of course, the recordings were made, questions of milliseconds apart, at the same time as the accused's words were being transmitted. They were not, however, recordings made in the course of transmission. What being recorded was not the transmission but the words of the accused taken from the sound waves in the car.

23. Mr Meeke submits that, if that is so, devices may exist which are capable of picking up the contents of both ends of the telephone without there being interception and thus without the need for a warrant from the Secretary of State. We do not know whether that is so or not. We observe that even if it is, that would not mean that a device which overheard one end of a call that was being put through a loud speaker such as a speakerphone or handsfree set with loud speaker attached thereby became an intercepting device. That conclusion is consistent with the view frequently taken in cases before this Court and the House of Lords.

24. In R v Effik [1995] 1 AC 309 the recording was made at a stage when what was being said was being transmitted by radio waves from a cordless telephone handset to a base receiver, from which it was then to proceed via the British Telecommunications Public System. Under the legislation then in force, the Interception of Communications Act 1985, only interception in the course of transmission by means of a public system was regulated. The cordless handset and the signal it sent to the base receiver were not part of the public system. The House of Lords held that there had been no interception in the course of transmission by means of the public telecommunications system and thus nothing subject to the regulation of the Act then in force.

25. The decision on the facts would now be different because sections 1(2) and 2(1) of RIPA together bring within the regulatory system transmissions made through a private telecommunication system, where it is attached to a public one. But their Lordships' views upon when the interception occurred remains directly in point. At page 320C Lord Oliver, with whose speech all their other Lordships agreed, approved the following statement, made in this Court, by Evans LJ, in R v Ahmed, unreported 29th March 1994

"Our conclusions are as follows. First, we hold that the interception of a communication takes place when, and at the place where, the electrical impulse or signal which is passing along telephone line is intercepted in fact. Secondly, if there is an interception of the private system, the communication which is intercepted is not, at that time, passing through the public system. It is not, in our judgment, in the course of transmission by means of the public telecommunications system. Thirdly, the fact that later or earlier signals, either have formed part of, or will form part of, the same communication or message, does not mean that the interception takes place at some other place or time. Finally, 'communication' in our judgment does not refer to the whole of the transmission or the message; it refers to the telephonic communication which is intercepted in fact, and on the evidence to which I have referred that consists of what has variously been described as the electrical impulse or signal which is affected by the interception that is made."

If the submission made on behalf of the accused in the present case were correct, it would have provided a complete answer to Effik, since the words intercepted were en route to the public telecommunication system.

26. The same applies to the decision of the House of Lords in DPP v Morgans [2000] 2 Cr App R 113. The House was there dealing with surveillance of a prisoner's telephone calls taking place before the coming into force of RIPA. It followed (a) that only interception in the course of transmission by means of a public telecommunication system was regulated, and (b) the specific exceptions for prison monitoring which are now contained in section 4(4) of RIPA were not then in force. The prisoner's conversations were listened to at the stage when they were passing through the prison's private system, en route to the British Telecom system to which it was connected. They were held not to be interception within the 1985 Act on grounds that, at that stage, the system was a private system rather than a public one. Once again the submission made here would have concluded the case, if it were correct. The conversation even though listened to on a private system was at the same time being sent from the private system across the public British Telecom system.

27. Next in R v Smart & Beard [2002] EWCA Crim 772, this Court had to deal with a situation identical to that which existed here, that is to say, a listening device placed in a suspect's car which recorded speech both between the occupants of the car and when one or other of them was using a mobile telephone. Following, Effik and Morgans, Clarke LJ, giving the judgment of this Court said this, at paragraph 68

"We have reached the clear conclusion that that approach is adopted to the fact of this case, there was no interception of the communication within the means of section 1(1) of the 1995 Acts. As we understand it the listening device simply heard and recorded what Harris said into his telephone. There was thus no interception of an electrical impulse or signal passing through a telecommunication system. The situation was in essence the same as it would have been if the conversations had been heard by a policeman, say hiding in the boot, or standing on the pavement."

28. In R v Alan, Bunting and Boodo [2001] EWCA 1005, this Court dealt with another case of prison monitoring, again under the 1985 Act. The Court repeated the proposition taken from R v Ahmed, to which we have earlier referred. The decision was cited with approval by this Court recently in Attorney-General's Reference No 5 of 2002 [2004] 1 Cr App R(S) No 2 page 11 at paragraph 54.

29. We add this. We are, as we have already said, not here concerned with what is sometimes called 'participant monitoring', where one party to a telephone call records the conversations. Such was, however, considered by this Court in R v Hammond McIntosh & Gray [2002] EWCA Crim 1243 and in R v Hardy & Hardy [2003] 1 Cr App R(S) No 30, at page 494. It was also considered, at first instance, in a comprehensive ruling by Astill J in R v MacDonald (Woolwich Crown Court, 23rd April 2002). For the avoidance of doubt, the conclusion of this Court in Hardy was that there was no interception albeit that, had there been interception, it would in any event have been lawful as a consequence of section 3(2) of RIPA. The decision in all of those cases is consistent with the line of authority we have rehearsed.

30. The present case, in which nothing was recorded which had passed through any telecommunication system, even if the words did simultaneously go into it is, if anything, a clearer case of the absence of interception than are those cases of participant monitoring.

31. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was enacted following at any rate the earlier of those statements of principle in the House of Lords and this Court. During the Committee stage of the Bill whilst in the House of Lords, the government minister, Lord Bassam, offered this explanation

"The phrase 'in the course of its transmission' by means of a postal service or telecommunication system has been carefully chosen by Parliamentary counsel to cover a particular set of circumstances. The course of transmission begins where a postal service or telecommunication system first begins to transmit a communication. In a telephone, the sound waves from the human voice first begin to be in the course of their transmission by means of a telephone communication when they are received by the microphone in the hand set. They continue to be in the course of their transmission until they are emitted by the speaker. Such phraseology ensures one is not technically intercepting a communication if one is in the same room as someone using a telephone and one happens to overhear what is being said. In the same way, listening to a voice from a speakerphone is not interception the sound waves have left the communication system on which they were transmitted and hence no longer technically in the course of their transmission. That is what we have in mind, and why we have used the phraseology."

32. If, and to the extent that, there is an ambiguity in the expression 'interception', which we do not believe that there is, that explanation of the intention of framers of the Act assists in resolving it. It resolves it against the submission made on behalf of the accused here.

33. Mr Meeke, however, draws attention to Directive 97/66 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Community of 15th December 1997, commonly known as the Telecommunications and Data Protection Directive. Its aim plainly is to require of members states protection by them of confidential data and communications and to harmonise the provisions made by different States.

34. The second of its several preliminary recitals reads as follows

"2. Whereas confidentiality of communications is guaranteed in accordance with the international instruments relating to human rights in particular the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the constitutions of the Member States…"

That is, of course, a reference back to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That article, as is well known, requires respect by a public authority for an individual's rights to private and family life. Further, it insists that any inference with such rights shall be only such as are in accordance with the law and necessary for certain purposes set out in paragraph 2 of the Article, one of which is the prevention of crime.

35. Next, to return to the directive, Article 5 reads as follows

"Member states shall ensure via National regulations the confidentiality of communications by means of a public telecommunications network and publicly available telecommunications services. In particular, they shall prohibit listening, tapping, storage, or other kinds of interception, or surveillance of communications by others users than without the consent of the users concerned except when legally authorised in accordance with Article 14(1)".

36. Mr Meeke submits that RIPA was enacted in part to achieve compliance with the Directive, and in any event should be construed so as to comply both with it and with Article 8 ECHR. He relies on the fact that the protection called for by the Directive extends to protection against listening storage and surveillance of communications as well as against tapping. His submission is that the need to comply with the Directive requires a fresh approach to the construction of the expression "interception" as used in RIPA, and thus that the authorities to which we have referred are no longer of assistance.

37. We do not, for a moment, doubt that RIPA should be construed, if possible, so as to comply with both the Directive and Article 8, and we are moreover satisfied that it can be. We accept that it was part of the objective of Parliament that RIPA should comply with both those European obligations. We accept also that the ambit of the Directive extends beyond interception to call for protection against infringement of confidentiality of communications by means other than simple interception. It does not, however, follow that what is required is the construction of the expression 'interception' for which Mr Meeke contends.

38. First, it should be observed that the Directive expressly permits measures judged necessary in Member States for the enforcement of the criminal law. That appears at several points in the Directive. Recital 12 says as follows

"12…..whereas it is for Member States to take such measures as they consider necessary for the protection of public security, defence, state security (including the economic well-being of the State when the activities relate to state security matters) and the enforcement of criminal law; whereas this directive shall not affect the ability of Member States carry out lawful interception of telephone communications for any of these purposes."

39. Next, Article 3

"This Directive shall not apply to the activities which fall outside the scope of by titles community law, such as those provided for 5 and 6 of the Treaty and European Union, and any case to activities concerning public security, defence, State security (including economic well-being of the State when the activities relate to State security matters) and the activities of the State in areas of criminal law."

40. Lastly, it will be remembered that Article 5 was expressly made subject to Article 14. Article 14 provides as follows

"Member states may adopt legislative measures to restrict the scope of the obligations and rights provided for in Articles 5…. when such restriction, constitutes a necessary measure to safeguard…. the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences…."

41. Secondly, the Directive requires protection for the confidentiality of communications. But RIPA and the Police Act form part of the protection provided in the United Kingdom for such confidentiality. In particular, Part II of RIPA contains a complex of rules requiring surveillance in different forms to be regulated and that includes the surveillance of communications. The Act regulates such surveillance and it calls for authorisation of it before it is lawful. Section 48 of RIPA defines surveillance, for the purposes of its regulation in Part II, in terms which clearly include the monitoring of conversations, whether telephonic or otherwise. Surveillance for that purpose clearly includes listening with or without the further step of interception. It follows that RIPA does regulate those interests which the Directive requires shall be protected. Nothing in the Directive requires that the protection afforded by Member States by way of regulation of the confidentiality of communications should extend to a prohibition upon the giving in evidence, at a trial for a criminal offence, of the kind of material which is in question here, where it has lawfully been obtained in accordance with authority properly given.

42. Similarly, Article 8 ECHR requires indirectly that surveillance of communications be conducted according to a framework of law and that it shall be such as is necessary for the various purpose recognised by Article 8 paragraph 2, which includes the prevention of crime. It does not require, in addition, that lawfully obtained material should be inadmissible at trial for a criminal offence.

43. It is the fact that in the United Kingdom it has for many years been the approach of successive governments to telephone surveillance by way of interception, properly so-called, that the content of interceptions may inform police investigations but may not form part of the evidence at any subsequent trial. That is the origin of section 17 of RIPA and its somewhat differently expressed predecessor, section 9 of the Interception of Communications Act 1985.

44. The reasons why this has been the approach in this country need not detain us in this judgment. They are referred to in the speech of Lord Mustill in R v Preston [1994] 2 AC 130 at 146A-148G and at 163-167E at 664 onwards. We need only record that the reasons for that approach do not lie in any irrelevance or in any unfairness to an accused of evidence emanating from an interception. They lie in wider considerations of public interest in the confidentiality of methods of investigation and of the sources of information. Plainly, it was a deliberate choice of Parliament to maintain this position when RIPA was enacted.

45. This exclusionary rule of evidence, however well established a United Kingdom rule it may be, goes, however, significantly further than is required by either Article 8 of the European Convention or by the Directive. Neither of those requires more than regulation of interference with communications; they do not require the exclusionary rule which is applied in this country. The facts behind the decision of the House of Lords in R v P [2001] 2 Cr App R 121 illustrate this. What was in question there was the admissibility in evidence in an English criminal trial of recordings made via telephone interceptions in a foreign country; the foreign country was a party to the European Convention and the Convention had been part of its law for many years. In that country, such intercepted material is by law admissible in evidence in a criminal trial. A national framework of rules controls and authorises when interception can take place. That national framework of rules has been found by the European Court of Human Rights to be Convention compliant (see paragraph 11 of the speech of Lord Hobhouse in P). Mr Meeke expressly accepted that a similar position obtains in a number of European countries.

46. We conclude, for all these reasons, that the Directive and Article 8 are complied with by RIPA and that neither the Directive nor Article 8 requires the altered construction of the expression 'interception' for which the accused here contends.

47. Lastly, on the construction point, Mr Meeke relies upon passages in Codes of Practice issued under the Police Act 1997 and RIPA. They are Codes of Practice which are formal documents. They require consultation and laying before Parliament and they are, by law, admissible in evidence in either a civil or criminal court. In a Code of Practice issued in 1999 for the purposes of the Police Act 1997, there appear these three sentences, in notes for guidance

"The use of a surveillance device should not be ruled out simply because it may incidentally pick up one end of a telephone conversation. However, its use would not be appropriate where its purpose is to overhear speech which is being transmitted by a public telecommunications system. In such a case, application must be made for warrant under the Interception of communications Act 1985."

In a later Code issued under RIPA the following similar observation is to be found at paragraph 4.32

"The use of a surveillance device should not be ruled out simply because it may incidentally pick up one or both ends of a telephone conversations, and any such product can be treated as having lawfully obtained. However, its use would not be appropriate where the sole purpose is to overhear speech, which at the time of monitoring is being transmitted by a telecommunications system."

48. The reference in the latter Code to the sole purpose being to overhear the speech being transmitted by telecommunication system should be noted. It should also be observed that both Codes refer to a surveillance device being inappropriate where what happens is that monitoring of speech being transmitted by a telecommunication system occurs.

49. Those passages may have been included out of caution, or uncertainty as to the interpretation of the expression 'interception'. That may particularly be so in the case of the earlier Code since the 1985 Act which was then in force contained no definition of interception. However that may be, we are satisfied that they go further than the law as enacted requires, and it is plain that they cannot prevail against the clear meaning of the statute.

50. We are, accordingly, satisfied that the line of authority to which we have referred continues to apply and it is against the submission made on behalf of the accused in this case. We hold that there was in this case no interception for the purposes of RIPA.

51. Lastly, we turn to Mr Meeke's alternative submissions under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. They are those which we have set out, as his submissions 5, 6 and 7. The learned judge rejected those submissions and held that the police had clearly acted in good faith. He had before him, as indeed did the defence, the various applications and authorities in properly redacted form. We can only interfere with the judge's discretion under section 78 if it were demonstrated that he had exercised it unreasonably. It is not arguable that he did. First and foremost, once "interception" is given the meaning which we have held that it bears, there was no arguable material misleading of the Chief Constable or the Commissioner in the applications which were made. It may be that no separate reference was made in those applications to any possibility that one side of a telephone conversation was likely to be overheard, or was being overheard. But since that did not constitute interception requiring the quite different process of a Secretary of State warrant, there was no occasion for the applications to refer to it. We pause to say that it is in any event extremely improbable that any Chief Constable or Commissioner could fail to be aware of the likelihood that a listening device in a car of anybody, let alone a suspected drug dealer, would pick up one end of mobile telephone conversations.

52. Secondly, if and to the extent that Mr Meeke contended for the proposition that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights was, in any event, infringed by what occurred, we are, with respect, unable to agree. What was done was done in accordance with the law and for one of the purposes accepted as proper by Article 8(2).

53. Third, the judge's finding of fact that the officers acted in good faith was plainly open to him. Indeed it was fully justified and we cannot go behind it.

54. Fourthly, we do not accept that contention that it is sufficient ground to exclude evidence under section 78 that the accused may himself feel that there has been bad faith. The test is the statutory one. It is whether the admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect upon the fairness of the trial that it ought to be excluded. It follows that the alternative submissions made, however attractively, for the appellant must also fail. This appeal must, for those reasons, be dismissed.

55. THE VICE PRESIDENT For the avoidance doubt, we make an order under section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, that pending final verdicts, on the trial of the appellant and his co-accused, no report of this judgment may be published which tends to identify either the appellant or his co-accused, or the Crown Court, at which they are to be tried. This order is not intended to prohibit or postpone a law report of the judgment provided that therein the appellant is identified by an initial other than his own, and the Crown Court is not identified.

56. THE VICE PRESIDENT We shall make the order that the appellant pay the prosecution costs in relation to this appeal in a sum to be assessed, after the conclusion of the trial, and that order not to be enforced before the conclusion of the trial. Is there anything else?

Posted : 26/08/2009 12:43 am
Posts: 159
Estimable Member

great read, as the male speaks,his voice is directed "on its way" through the public system,i understand the interception here, conversely though,lets say you had a listening device which was good enough to pick up what was being said by the the unknown other party,this has now left the public system and is effectively"in the car" interception?

Posted : 31/08/2009 9:44 pm
Posts: 1877
Noble Member
Topic starter

Unlawful interception in telecommunications system terms requires the fundamentals to be in place

a) the act of unlawful interception is taking place in a public telecommunications systems (e.g. designated as 'public')
b) the unlawfully intercepted communications must in the "course of transmission" (the communications must be moving; store and forward or store and wait are entirely different matters)
c) the person/s or public authority who are not authorised to intercept in a public system act unlawfully (because unlawful interception equally requires human intervention acting with intention and deed)

For mobile communications that means the identification of where the public interface starts and stops at the antenna interface on the Mast and the antenna circuitry of the handset. Anything ingress beyond the interface at the Mast (BTS) is considered private and anything ingress after the aerial circuitry at the handset is private.

In the course of transmission, it has to be live and moving traffic in a public communications systems be it voice, text, emails, browsing, video, music etc etc.

In your scenario bigjon, recording overheard conversation external of the public telecommunications and therefore bugging the car, so to speak, may amount to something (I would get that qualified by a barrister) but appears unlikely to be interception of mobile communications within the meaning of a public telecommunications network.

But don't take my word for it, ask a Barrister experienced in this area.

Posted : 31/08/2009 10:18 pm
Posts: 1877
Noble Member
Topic starter

great read, as the male speaks,his voice is directed "on its way" through the public system,i understand the interception here, conversely though,lets say you had a listening device which was good enough to pick up what was being said by the the unknown other party,this has now left the public system and is effectively"in the car" interception?

bigjon, as follow up to your question, here is a case that may provide some further illumination on points you are querying

Crime — Evidence — Telephone intercept — Tape recording of telephone conversation between undercover police officer and suspect — Whether interception — Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, s (2)

R v Hardy and another CA Rose LJ, Hughes and Royce JJ 31 October 2002 A person does not intercept a communication in the course of its transmission by a telecommunication system, within the meaning of s2(2) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, merely by tape recording a telephone call. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, so held in dismissing appeals against conviction by Brian George Hardy and Danny Paul Hardy on their pleas of guilty on 7 September 2001 in the Crown Court at St Albans to one count of conspiracy to supply a class B controlled drug (cannabis) after rulings by Judge Cripps that tape recordings of face to face and telephone conversations obtained by undercover police officers were admissible in evidence. HUGHES J, giving the judgment of the court, said that from June 2000 the defendants were placed under police surveillance which revealed a suspected conspiracy to import drugs. Two undercover police officers posed as owner-drivers of heavy good vehicles and were recruited by the first defendant and told to buy mobile phones. Each had a series of meeting with the first defendant and each spoke to him on the telephone. Each was equipped with a tape recorder and they recorded both the face to face meetings and the telephone conversations. The first defendant sent one officer to Holland to collect an assignment of cannabis. He was met by the second defendant who oversaw the loading of the cannabis. The undercover officer drove back to England where the load was intercepted and dummy packages substituted. The first defendant was caught in the act of unloading. At the trial counsel for both defendants made it clear that they wished the Crown to disclose the authority under which the surveillance had been carried out, particularly in relation to the tape recording of the telephone calls. The judge took the view that the surveillance was in accordance with proper authority and that the documents need not be disclosed to the defendants since they would not assist their defence. The prosecution then disclosed redacted copies of the authorisation, whereupon defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a class B drug. They appealed against conviction on the grounds that the judge erred in finding that the tape recordings were authorised by s 3 or s 26 of the 2000 Act. In their Lordships' judgment this was not a case of telephone tapping or interception, which would involve a third person having access to a telephone conversation without the knowledge of either speaker. In this case one party taped the telephone conversations he had with the defendants and the fact that he could support his account of what he said by a tape recording did not make it an interception. The tape acted as corroboration of his account and was a safeguard for the suspect as well as the witness. The conduct of the police officers did amount, nevertheless, to surveillance to which Part II of the Act applied, particularly "the conduct and use of covert human intelligence sources" within s 26(1)©. In this case proper authorities were given by a duly qualified officer for the deployment of the undercover officers to do that which they did. Appearances Robin Pearse Wheatley (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellants; Amanda Pinto (Crown Prosecution Service, Hertfordshire) for the Crown.


International Conference for Communications Interception 2010

Posted : 06/09/2009 1:37 pm
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