New arrangement – chats and co.: The pressure on the Minister of Justice is increasing

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Lawyers have been calling for a reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) for years. In it they criticize the current regulations in the field of mobile phones, etc., which date from the ‘digital stone age’.

Casag and Co. – Dozens of suspects and investigations and procedures following seized data carriers. Lawyers have been calling for a reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) for years. The current regulations regarding mobile phones etc. date from the “digital stone age”. The Constitutional Court (VfGH) has ordered a contemporary adjustment. It should apply from 1 January 2025.

Now the Bar Association is increasing the pressure. “Unfortunately, we are not involved in the reform process,” said Armenak Utudjian, president of the Austrian Bar Association (ÖRAK). There are concerns that reform could be delayed – given recent experience and the upcoming election campaigns. The lawyers send a list of demands to Justice Minister Alma Zadić (Greens) via ‘Krone’, based on an expert report by criminal law professor Ingeborg Zerbes. Some points:

  • Security: only in case of strong suspicions and serious crimes – or crimes committed with the mobile phone itself. And only with justified judicial approval.
  • Providing secure data to those affected
  • Clear rules for accidental discoveries: a difficult issue, especially because much evidence falls into the hands of researchers “incidentally”.
  • Shortening the duration of the evaluation process through binding deadlines

Procedures should be shorter
Nevertheless, the focus remains on the demand for shorter (especially less demanding) procedures and appropriate compensation for acquittals and dismissals. The “Krone” asked Minister Zadić. Green Justice spokeswoman Agnes Prammer responded: “There is no reason for the president to worry. A reform of mobile phone security is a central part of the reform of the StPO, as is the new scheme for reimbursement of costs in case of acquittals. This reform package will be decided during the legislature.”

Source: Krone

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