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Judgement date :17/10/2019
This case concerns an alleged violation of the right to respect for private and family life as per Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and of the right to a fair trial as per Article 6(1) of the same convention. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found no violation of said Articles.
The facts concern the use of covert CCTV footage in Court. Noticing irregularities between the shop’s stock and its sales and finding losses over five months, the supermarket in which the applicants had been working installed both visible and hidden CCTV cameras. Soon thereafter the applicants were dismissed on disciplinary grounds having been recorded while taking part in the theft of goods. The national High Court held that the use of video surveillance without prior notification was justified under the proportionality test due to the suspicions of misconduct which made the measure appropriate for the aim, and necessary.
Concerning Article 8, the applicants claimed that the national authorities had failed to fulfil their positive obligations under the ECHR. The ECtHR noted that there is widespread agreement that subjects of video recording should be notified in advance, and that only an overriding requirement relating to the protection of significant public or private interests could justify the lack of prior notification. The ECtHR concluded that the reason in the present case did justify the use of covert surveillance and that the national court’s assessment that its use had been proportionate was correct and had not overstepped their margin of appreciation. There was no violation of Article 8. [Para. 137].
Concerning Article 6(1), the applicants claimed that the use of the video evidence in court had undermined the proceedings as a whole and that the settlements reached by the third, fourth and fifth applicant had been signed under duress stemming from said evidence. The ECtHR found that the applicants had been able to contest the evidence and to challenge the settlement agreements and that therefore there had been no violation of Article 6(1). [Para. 155, 161].