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Is eavesdropping on conversations between a client and an attorney in criminal cases legally admissible? An amicus curiae opinion

In his complaint submitted to the Constitutional Tribunal Krzysztof Pierścionek challenges the constitutionality of article 19 of the Police Act. Article 19 enables the authorities to gather materials documenting contacts between defendants and their attorneys, obtained through investigative methods.

The provision in question creates no procedure for requesting that such materials be destroyed. The HFHR has presented an amicus curiae opinion in the case, arguing that the very possibility of wire-tapping lawyer-client conferences in criminal cases may result in frustrating the defendant’s right to effective defence. The criminal defence attorney task is to represent the client in a way beneficial to the interests of the latter.

The Foundation also noted that the loophole in the procedure for handling materials documenting contacts between defendants and their attorneys violates the ‘information autonomy’ principle enshrined in the Constitution. Under article 51(2) of the Constitution, public authorities may not acquire, collect nor make accessible information on citizens other than that which is necessary in a democratic state ruled by law.

‘In our opinion, a Tribunal’s ruling in this case will contribute to starting an important discussion on the gathering of materials documenting contacts between defendants and their attorneys’, says Irmina Pacho, Coordinator of the Strategic Litigation Programme.

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