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Proposed New Criminal Laws Give Police Access to Phones and Computers

Jane Anderson - Specialist Criminal Lawyer Adelaide
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As one of Adelaide’s leading criminal defence law firms, Mangan Ey & Associates is constantly keeping up-to-date with changes in criminal law. Our Adelaide criminal defence lawyers keep a close eye on all new developments in criminal law including Bills tabled in parliament. Following an announcement made yesterday, Attorney-General Vicki Chapman will today introduce new laws to compel suspects of crime to provide computer passwords, fingerprints and/or facial and retinal scans for a range of technological devices. Under the proposed changes to the Summary Offences Act 1953, SA Police and investigators acting pursuant to the ICAC Act will be able to apply to a Magistrate for a court order compelling a person suspected of committing a serious criminal offence to provide access to mobile phones, computers or other data storage devices owned by that suspect.

In order for the application to be successful, police or investigators must provide evidence in affidavit form outlining the allegations and must satisfy the Magistrate that “there are reasonable grounds to suspect that data held on a computer or data storage device may afford evidence of a serious offence.”

Urgent telephone applications may be made and in these circumstances there is provision in the proposed amendments for suspects to be detained for up to four hours without access to any computer or storage device.

The new laws are primarily aimed at investigations and prosecutions into child exploitation matters, but it is anticipated that those suspected of serious and organised crime will also be affected.

The proposed penalty for failure to comply with such an order or for interfering with data on storage device includes imprisonment of up to five years.

Our highly experienced criminal defence lawyers at Mangan Ey & Associates can provide comprehensive advice on this issue. If you are suspected of committing a serious criminal offence please contact one of our criminal defence lawyers in our Adelaide office on 8227 2322 immediately.

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