Edmondson and Others v Regina: CACD 28 Jun 2013

Course of Transmission includes Voicemails

The defendants appealed against convictions for conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemail messages whilst employed in various positions in newspapers. The issue boiled down to when the ‘course of transmission’ of a voicemail message ended, that is whether a voicemail message which was saved by the recipient on the voicemail facility of a public telecommunications system remained in the course of transmission. The appellants asserted that the words ‘in the course of transmission’ in section 1(1) of RIPA did not extend to cover voicemail messages once they had been accessed by the intended recipient.
Held: The appeals failed. The phrase covered not only the period before the message was received by equipment and stored, but also the time when it awaited actual receipt by the owner. This was put beyond doubt by the words of section 2(7): ‘there is nothing in the words ‘for storing it in a manner that enables the intended recipient . . otherwise to have access to it’ which suggests that this opportunity is limited by time or that it can only occur on a single occasion. On the contrary, the words suggest to us a continuing state of affairs. There is no basis for reading into the statutory language a limitation restricting it by reference to the first occasion when the intended recipient has access to it.’

Lord Judge LCJ, Lloyd Jones LJ, Openshaw J
[2013] EWCA Crim 1026, [2013] WLR(D) 262, (2013) 177 JP 513, [2014] 1 WLR 1119, [2013] 4 All ER 999, [2013] 2 Cr App R 32, [2013] 3 CMLR 51
Bailii, WLRD
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 1 2(7), Interception of Communications Act 1985, Directive 97/66/EC 5, Directive 2002/58/EC of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, Criminal Law Act 1977 1
England and Wales
CitedThompson and Another, Regina v CACD 22-Nov-2006
The prosecution sought leave to appeal the quashing of an indictment.
Held: Section 53 of the 2003 Act could not be used for this purpose. The defendants had successfully challenged the adequacy of the Crown’s case before trial. The defendants . .
CitedRegina v Effik; Regina v Mitchell HL 22-Jul-1994
The material obtained by intercepting signals passing between a base unit and the handset of a cordless telephone was admissible because no communication was being made by means of a public system when the calls were intercepted by the police. A . .
CitedRegina v E CACD 26-Apr-2004
The court was asked as to the permissibility of admitting covert recordings of the accused’s car by investigating officers, which recorded the accused’s words as they spoke into their telephones. The defendants said that this amount to interception . .
CitedRegina v McDonald 23-Apr-2002
Woolwich Crown Court. The court was asked to rule on the admissibility of evidence of with telephone calls recorded by external microphones.
Held: The offence under section 1 of the 2002 Act is committed by intercepting a transmission as it is . .
CitedNTL Group Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v S Constabulary Admn 22-Jul-2002
The claimant sought judicial review of the granting of a special protection order with regard to the retention of emails sent by their customers, and for permission to destroy material relating to the application. The result, said the applicant, . .
CitedRegina v Hardy (Brian); Regina v Hardy (Danny) CACD 31-Oct-2002
Police working undercover were asked to use mobile telephones. They recorded their conversations. At trial the defendants asked for the details of the authorisation for the interception of the communications, but were given only part information . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.511339