Australian Privacy Breach, November 23 2020

Bugged lawyers’ conversations available to Victorian police thanks to ‘IT error’

The massive breach of the rights to confidentiality and legal professional privilege has potentially contaminated an unknown number of criminal cases and convictions.

Source: Bugged lawyers’ conversations available to police thanks to ‘IT error’ | The Age
More reports from: The Age.

Victoria Police inappropriately handled confidential information from bugged phone calls between lawyers and their clients for a period of three years, in an incident the force has blamed on an “inadvertent IT error”.

“Victoria Police has become aware that, due to an inadvertent IT error, call summaries that had been prepared of communications intercepted under a number of telecommunications interception warrants, and which it had identified as containing communications subject to legal professional privilege, had been inadvertently made accessible to investigators.”

Under the law, the conversations between lawyers and clients are privileged and cannot be used by police for investigative or intelligence purposes. The ability to receive confidential advice from a lawyer that cannot be accessed, intercepted or used by police or prosecutors is considered a sacrosanct part of the rule of law and the right to a fair trial.