Fair Trials welcomes Italian Supreme Court ruling on Sky ECC evidence

Article by Fair Trials

The Italian Supreme Court has called for prosecutors and police to disclose how messages were obtained from the Sky ECC network. Information about how the data was retrieved from the encrypted communications network has so far not been revealed, with severe implications for fair trial rights. It is impossible to have a fair trial if the accused person cannot access the evidence or assess its reliability and legality. Fair Trials welcomes the Supreme Court ruling and hopes that it sets a precedent across Europe for the use of all evidence obtained through hacks.

Police in Belgium, France and the Netherlands infiltrated the Sky ECC network in 2021. The data was later shared with other EU countries through Europol, leading to hundreds of arrests. However, similarly to data obtained through the EncroChat hack, authorities have not disclosed how the infiltration was carried out.

Laure Baudrihaye-Gérard, Legal Director (Europe) of Fair Trials stated: 

“Being able to test the legality and reliability of evidence is crucial to the right to a fair trial. But accused people are being left completely in the dark about how evidence from the Sky ECC and EncroChat infiltrations was obtained. The Italian Supreme Court ruling should serve as a reminder that states must be held accountable whenever they decide to use criminal justice powers, including surveillance tools. No-one should face a trial based on evidence that they cannot examine.”

Next week, the French Supreme Court will rule on the admissibility of evidence from the EncroChat hack, details of which are also being concealed under the premise of ‘defence secrecy.’ In the UK, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has also heard that the National Crime Agency (NCA) “deliberately concealed” information when obtaining a warrant to access data from the hack.