Court rules use of phone conversation recordings as exhibits needs prior approval

The Court of Second Instance (TSI) has ruled that using phone conversations recorded by dashboard cameras as exhibits requires prior judicial approval.

In a recent case, five suspects were convicted of conducting a relatively major fraud. An exhibit presented to the Court of First Instance was a clip of a recorded phone conversation that took place in a suspect’s car and was captured by the dashboard camera.

With all suspects filing an appeal to the second court, one of them presented the argument that the recorded phone conversation should not have been used as an exhibit due to its lack of legality.

In the appeal procedure, the second court cited an earlier ruling by the same court, numbered 741/2021, to point out that in-car conversations captured by a dashboard camera in the same car can be used by the court during its evaluation of evidence for a criminal procedure.

Despite this ruling, the court underlined that phone conversations captured by dashboard cameras are of a different nature and governed by Article 172 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Pursuant to the provision, such recordings can only be initiated with prior court approval.

With that said, the Court of First Instance’s acceptance of the recording as an exhibit was against the law.

The same dashboard camera recorded the in-car conversation between two suspects, which was also accepted by the first court as an exhibit. The second court found this to be legal.

On the other hand, the conversation between a suspect and the brother of the suspect during the former’s prison custody was also treated by the first court as an exhibit.

Commenting on this, the second court pointed out that committing this crime attracts a sentence of at least three years’ imprisonment. Based on the severity of the punishment, competent laws permits the use of wiretapping as investigative apparatuses.

Therefore, the recording of the conversation is acceptable as a court exhibit.

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