The Federal Tribunal ruled that a video obtained illegally and which incriminates a Geneva police officer cannot be used at his expense.
The Federal Tribunal accepts the appeal of a Geneva police officer convicted of abuse of authority. He notes that the video incriminating him could not be used in court. The case is referred to the Canton Court of Justice.
The recording had been discovered incidentally on the sidelines of an investigation within the brigade where the police officer worked as group leader. The latter verbally attacked a Georgian detainee and threatened him with death.
The Court of Justice sentenced the policeman to 60 day fines of 170 francs. It was based on this video shot by a colleague without the knowledge of the defendant. The Geneva judges recognized that this evidence had been obtained illegally. But they felt that there was an overriding interest in its exploitation. And that if the public prosecutor had had any suspicion, he could have ordered video surveillance of the interrogation rooms.
Exploitation of illegal evidence
In a judgment published on Thursday, the Federal Court takes the opposite view and judges that this reasoning “disregards the requirements of case law” in terms of the use of evidence collected illegally.
In order for such evidence to be used, the criminal authorities must have been able to obtain it lawfully. However, they can only order surveillance if they have serious suspicions that an offense has been committed, underline the judges of Mon Repos.
Violation of law
When the Appellant was filmed without his knowledge, he was not suspected of having committed any offense. The video could not therefore have been obtained lawfully by the criminal authorities.
Consequently, the Geneva courts violated the law by relying on this recording to convict the appellant. It is called upon to render a new decision on the basis of other elements, if they exist. (judgment 6B_53 / 2020 of July 14, 2020)