I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Is it Legal to Record Phone Calls?
It may be useful to record phone calls for many reasons. But is it legal to record phone calls in Western Australia? There are strict laws in place in WA to protect the privacy of conversations where there has been no agreement that the conversation will be recorded, as this article explains.
Legislation on recording phone calls
The use of listening devices in Western Australia is governed by the Surveillance Devices Act 1998. Section 5(1) of that act, which deals with the regulation of installation and use of listening devices, states:
“a person shall not install, use, or maintain, or cause to be installed, used, or maintained, a listening device –
(a) to record, monitor, or listen to a private conversation to which that person is not a party; or
(b) to record a private conversation to which that person is a party.”
A party is any person in the conversation who speaks or has words spoken to them.
What constitutes a ‘listening device’?
The Act states a listening device is any instrument, apparatus or equipment that can be used to record, monitor or listen to a private conversation. The definition does not include a hearing aid or similar device.
What is a ‘private conversation’?
The Act defines a private conversation as any conversation where the parties reasonably expect their words to be listened to only by themselves. It does not include circumstances in which they could reasonably expect their conversation to be overheard by others.
Penalties if you record phone calls
If you record phone calls without consent in WA, the penalty is $5000 or 12 months imprisonment for an individual, or both, and $50,000 for a body corporate.
When is it legal to record phone calls?
The Section 5 prohibition does not apply to certain situations where a conversation may be recorded, including when the installation, use or maintenance of a listening device was in accordance with:
- a warrant;
- an emergency authorisation; or
- was in the public interest.
A court can issue a listening device warrant if there are reasonable grounds for believing an offence has been, is being, is about to be, or is likely to be committed, and use of the device would help an investigation of the offence.
When considering an application for such a warrant, the court must consider:
- the nature of the offence;
- the extent to which a person’s privacy is likely to be infringed;
- whether such evidence can be gained in other ways;
- the value of the evidence to be gained;
- any other warrants issued for the same matter;
- the public interest.
There are several reasons a court can issue an emergency authorisation to use a listening device to record phone calls. These include if there are reasonable grounds for believing there is an imminent threat of serious violence to a person or substantial damage to property; or if an indictable drug offence has been, may have been, is being, is about to be, or is likely to be committed, and use of the device is necessary for investigating the offence.
If a person using a listening device under a warrant or emergency authorisation inadvertently or unexpectedly comes across a conversation, evidence of that conversation, and evidence obtained as a consequence of it, can be presented in a criminal proceeding.
A person who is a party to a private conversation can use a listening device if the principal party consents to that use and if there are reasonable grounds for believing the use is in the public interest. This may be pertinent when a person has a child under their care and they reasonably believe use of the device will contribute to the protection of the best interests of the child.
Emergency use of a listening device to record phone calls is permitted if a person believes the circumstances are so serious and the matter is so urgent that use is in the public interest.
A judge can order a person to publish or communicate a private conversation, or a record or report of it, in order to protect or further the public interest.
The prohibition also does not apply if the person who is a party to the private conversation, installs, uses or maintains the listening device because:
- they are carrying out their duty as a law enforcement officer;
- they are instructed or authorised to do so in the course of an investigation into a criminal offence;
- each party to the conversation consents explicitly or impliedly;
- they believe it is reasonably necessary to protect their lawful interests.
It also does not apply if the recording of the private conversation was unintentional.
When is it an offence to record phone calls and share them?
Section 9(1) of that act, which deals with the regulation of publication or communication of private conversations, states:
“a person shall not knowingly publish or communicate a private conversation, or a report or record of a private conversation, or a record of a private activity that has come to the person’s knowledge as a direct or indirect result of the use of a listening device…”
Section 9(2) lists exceptions to the prohibition, where the publication or communication is made:
- to a party to the conversation;
- when all parties to the conversation consent;
- with the authority of the Commissioner of Police, or a Crime Commission or other Commission;
- by the Director of Public Prosecutions;
- in the course of any legal proceedings;
- when there are reasonable grounds to believe there is an imminent threat of serious violence to a person or substantial damage to property
It might be tempting to secretly record phone calls that could be useful, but if you do, you could be committing a criminal offence.
This is a complex area of law, so for advice on this or any legal matter, contact Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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