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Listening in

We should welcome the removal of the ban on the use of intercept evidence in court—as long as it's done in the right way

By Ian Caplin   February 2008

A privy council report published in late January recommended in principle that the ban on intercept evidence in court be removed. This is fast becoming the consensus view. While there are some strong arguments for its removal, the devil is going to be in the detail of how it is done.

The police and other intelligence agencies can be authorised to conduct surveillance activities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. Evidence from bugging—the use of concealed listening devices or cameras—is admissible in court. But intercept evidence—which covers the covert interception of telephone calls, faxes, email and ordinary post—is…

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