(641)  PRISONERS’ PRIVACY

On 20 March 2007 Lord Glennie ruled that for a prison to place a recorded message on phone calls made by inmates stating that the call was coming from a prison was a breach of their right to respect for their family life and correspondence under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Potter v Scottish Prison Service [2007] CSOH 56, available on the Scottish Courts website at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2007CSOH56.html.  Lord Glennie held that the Convention right was anyway part of the common law of Scotland, long before the ECHR, and that only the legislature could remove it.  Prisoners as such were not deprived of their civil rights, and a blanket rule requiring the pre-recorded message to be on all outgoing calls could not be justified (especially when the prisoner could only make calls to an approved list of recipients).  Politicians and the red-top media waxed furious about prisoners’ rights being considered ahead of those of victims, although it was not clear that the decision affected victims in any way whatsoever, and the Lord Advocate was said to be considering an appeal.

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