Regina v Allan, Bunting and Boodhoo: CACD 6 Apr 2001

The authorities intercepted telephone conversations on card phones used by prisoners with people outside the prison. Was the intercepted material admissible? Was it a ‘communication in the course of its transmission . . by means of a public telecommunications system’ ? The lines came into the prison from the BT network. They ran to a control room in which there was a box which contained an isolator switch for each line. The isolator switch could be operated by prison officers to activate or deactivate each line. A recording device was attached to each line and all calls were automatically recorded as soon as a card phone handset was lifted from the rest position. The prisoner used a card to make a phone call.
Held: It was of central importance to determine whether the calls were being transmitted by a public telecommunication system at the time and place of interception. It was a private system at the point of interception, and the intercept was admissible.


Keene LJ, Steel J and Sir Brian Smedley


[2001] EWCA Crim 1025/6


Interception of Communications Act 1985 1(1)


England and Wales


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 . .
CitedMorgans v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 18-Feb-2000
Without a warrant, the police had arranged for a call logger to retain details of the calls made, including the number called, time and duration. The dialing itself was a communication, which established a connection, through which further . .

Cited by:

CitedW, Regina v (Attorney General’s reference no 5 of 2002) CACD 12-Jun-2003
Three serving police officers provided confidential information to a known criminal. The Chief Constable authorised interception of telephones at a police station, a private network. The court accepted that section 17 prevented the defence asserting . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Evidence, Prisons, Human Rights

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.183556