Mistake by Police Causes Drug Case’s Dismissal Skip to content

Mistake by Police Causes Drug Case’s Dismissal

The Reykjavík Metropolitan Police have reviewed their work methods during questioning after the Supreme Court of Iceland acquitted a suspect in a drug smuggling case due to illegal evidence.


Icelandic police officers. The photo is not related to the story. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

The man was sentenced to two years in prison in the District Court based to a large extent on a video of the police’s questioning, ruv.is reports.

By mistake, the video camera was not switched off when the co-defendant in the case asked to speak with his lawyer and so the conversation was recorded.

The mistake was not noticed, neither during the police’s transcription of the questioning, nor during the state prosecutor’s reviewing of the evidence. The District Court did not make any remarks when the video was submitted as evidence.

The Supreme Court states in its ruling that the violation is legally reprehensible.

Police Commissioner Stefán Eiríksson said the mistake has been reviewed within the police department and work methods changed in order to prevent it from happening again.

Brynjar Níelsson, chairman of the Icelandic Bar Association, told Morgunblaðið that a letter on the matter will be sent to Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson.

He added that lawyers have often expressed concern that the conversations they have with their defendants are listened in on, even if they are not recorded.

They also suspect that when police officers are tapping the phones of persons who are under investigation they continue to listen in on conversations even though it is clear that they are speaking with their lawyer, Brynjar added.

However, according to Brynjar, this suspicion has not been confirmed and it is therefore important that the execution of phone tapping is monitored.


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