Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors explains the powers available to Law Enforcement Agencies to obtain disclosure of encrypted and /or protected items held by suspects in criminal proceedings, and the penalties for non-compliance.
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (‘RIPA’) 2000 | Kangs Criminal Team
- Under Section 49 of this Act (‘the Act’) Law Enforcement Agencies have the power to serve notice (‘a notice’) requesting individuals to disclose information in relation to encrypted items they may lawfully hold.
- A notice can only be served where appropriate permission has been given, normally by a Police Superintendent or higher rank.
- A notice will be served where there are reasonable grounds for believing that:
- the key to the relevant protected information is in the possession of the person on whom a notice is being served;
- serving a notice imposing a disclosure requirement is necessary for reasons set out, or necessary for securing the effective exercise of proper performance of any statutory power, or duty of a public authority;
- imposing a disclosure requirement is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by doing so and
- an intelligible version of the relevant protected information cannot be obtained by any reasonable means.
Failure to Comply and Punishment | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
Under Section 53 of the Act the maximum penalty for failing to comply with a notice is:
- In a national security or child indecency case – five years imprisonment;
- In any other case – two years imprisonment and /or unlimited fines in relation to both;
- On summary conviction – imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine.
Defence | Kangs Criminal Defence Team
A defence may be available to a person who can show that it was not practicable to comply with a notice immediately but there was compliance as soon as reasonably practicable.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
If you are contacted by a Law Enforcement Agency and served with a notice then you should ensure that you protect your rights and entitlements from the outset by obtaining the best legal advice.
Our specialist team is here to help you and can be contacted by any of the following: