Case summary

Perry v. the United Kingdom


European Court of Human Rights
17 July 2003

Facts
The applicant Mr.Perry was secretly filmed by a custody suit camera in the police station because he had refused to participate in an identification parade. A compilation tape was prepared in which eleven volunteers imitated the actions of the applicant as captured on the covert video. The video was shown to witnesses who identified Mr.Perry from the compilation tape. Mr.Perry and his solicitor were not informed that a tape had been made or used for identification purposes. Subsequently the applicant was convicted of robbery.

Complaint
Mr.Perry complained that he was covertly videotaped by the police and that this act had violated his right to private life.

Court’s ruling
The Court found a violation of Mr.Perry’s right to private life, as the police had not followed the proceedings prescribed by the domestic law, namely, had not required the consent of Mr.Perry to the video recording and had not informed him of its use.

The Court concluded that:

  • Normal use of security cameras on a public street or on premises, for example, shopping centres or police stations, where they serve a legitimate and foreseeable purpose, do not as such interfere with a person’s right to private life.

  • In the particular case, however, the police regulated the security camera so that it could take a clear footage of the applicant in the custody suite. Thus the ploy adopted by the police had gone beyond the normal use of this type of camera.

  • The permanent recording and use of the video footage of Mr.Perry violated his right to private life, as the data was secretly recorded and then shown to other persons without his consent or knowledge.

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