UK BAN ON EAVESDROPPING ENCOURAGES A CULTURE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ARBITRAGE

A blog post from law firm Corker Bining on 11th September is concerned with the continuing blanket ban under UK law that continues despite the transformational changes in methods of surveillance during the last 30 years and the general public’s increasing awareness of the near ubiquitous surveillance of many aspects of daily life by either the State or private sector.  It means that, insofar as intercept material obtained by a UK State agency (such as the police, NCA, HMRC etc) is concerned, neither the prosecution nor defence can adduce it as evidence at trial in any circumstances.  This statutory exclusionary rule of both unprecedented and unique breadth has existed since 1985.  The posting says that the aim of the article is to provide a degree of enlightenment derived from 2 recent judgments as to this debate.  The cases both involved interceptions that actually took place outside the UK but were made available to the NCA. In one case it is said that had the UK ban applied to the recordings, there would never have been an NCA investigation, and that the NCA was able to investigate only because the German police apparently had gathered them in connection with an unrelated tax fraud investigation which it was conducting.  The posting concludes that not only does the continuing ban risk hamstringing UK investigations, it also risks well-intentioned subterfuge by law enforcement to get around the ban where overseas intercepts are involved.

https://www.corkerbinning.com/uk-ban-on-eavesdropping-encourages-a-culture-of-international-law-enforcement-arbitrage/

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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