W, 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 that the interception had taken place on the public side of the system, and therefore admission of other evidence would be prejudicial and should not be admitted. Questions were certified: 1) Does section 17 (1) of 2000 Act (RIPA’) operate to prevent evidence being adduced etc to ascertain whether a telecommunications system is a public or a private telecommunications system? 2) Is the answer different if the evidence relates to events which took place before RIPA? And 3) Where an interception has taken place on a private telecommunications system, is it permissible to establish that the interception has been carried out by the person with control of the system a) before RIPA; and b) after RIPA?
Held: Section 17 is wider than the older section under the 1985 Act. Evidence that the system is public does not in any way disclose the contents of the communications and so is not prohibited. The ruling that section 17 prevented the defence adducing evidence, asking questions or making assertions designed to show that the intercepts were via the public system was wrong. IF th esystem was public it was inadmissible. If private it was not. Answers 1) No, 2) No 3)(a) yes 3)(b) Yes. The questions were referred on to the House of Lords.
Lord Justice Clarke, Mr Justice Morison And Dame Heather Steel Dbe
[2003] EWCA Crim 1632, Times 16-Jun-2003, Gazette 10-Jul-2003, [2003] 1 WLR 2902
Bailii
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 17(1), Interception of Communications Act 1985
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedMalone v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis (No 2) ChD 28-Feb-1979
The court considered the lawfulness of telephone tapping. The issue arose following a trial in which the prosecution had admitted the interception of the plaintiff’s telephone conversations under a warrant issued by the Secretary of State. The . .
CitedMalone v The United Kingdom ECHR 2-Aug-1984
The complainant asserted that his telephone conversation had been tapped on the authority of a warrant signed by the Secretary of State, but that there was no system to supervise such warrants, and that it was not therefore in ‘accordance with law’. . .
CitedRegina v Preston, Preston, Clarke Etc HL 5-Nov-1993
Telephone tapping evidence consisting of tapping records are to be destroyed after their use for the purpose obtained, but a prosecution was not within that purpose. The underlying purpose of the 1985 Act is to protect information as to the . .
CitedRegina v Ahmed and Others CACD 29-Mar-1994
The tapping of telephone calls within a police station switchboard was outside the scope of the Act, since the calls were not intercepted whilst the communications were being carried on a public telecommunications system. . .
CitedRegina v Sang HL 25-Jul-1979
The defendant appealed against an unsuccessful application to exclude evidence where it was claimed there had been incitement by an agent provocateur.
Held: The appeal failed. There is no defence of entrapment in English law. All evidence . .
CitedRegina v P and others HL 19-Dec-2000
Where communications had been intercepted in a foreign country, and the manner of such interceptions had been lawful in that country, the evidence produced was admissible in evidence in a trial in England. An admission of such evidence was not an . .
CitedRegina v Sargent HL 25-Oct-2001
When a telephone engineer used his position to make unauthorised telephone intercepts, and produced apparent evidence of criminal activity, he was, under the Act, a person engaged in providing a public communications system, and the recordings were . .
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 . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
Appealed toAttorney General’s Reference (No 5 of 2002) HL 14-Oct-2004
The Attorney General sought the correct interpretation of section 17 where a court was asked as to whether evidence obtained from a telephone tapping had been taken from a public or private network. A chief constable suspected that the defendants, . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromAttorney General’s Reference (No 5 of 2002) HL 14-Oct-2004
The Attorney General sought the correct interpretation of section 17 where a court was asked as to whether evidence obtained from a telephone tapping had been taken from a public or private network. A chief constable suspected that the defendants, . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 April 2021; Ref: scu.183402