It appears that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has actually ruled in favour of a complainant, for the first time in its history !
Previous annual reports by the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the intelligence Services Commissioner have a section on the activities of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, and none of them have ever reported that any complaint against the authorities had ever been upheld.
It is possible that we have missed news of some obscure IPT ruling in the calendar year 2005, which would presumably have been reported in the still as yet unpublished 2005 annual reports, but there is nothing published on the Investigatory Powers Tribunal website section on Rulings either.
So where are the prison sentences, or fines for those who ordered or conducted the illegal intercepts? Where is the ordering of the destruction of the privacy invading recordings, transcripts and communications traffic data logfiles, and the financial compensation for the victims of the illegal acts ?
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal does not have any power to convict, or fine, or even to recommend the prosecution of anyone found to have ordered or conducted illegal communications interceptions. The IPT does have the power to order the destruction of the intercepted recordings, transcripts and communications data traffic logfiles , and to award financial compensation to the victims, but it does not seem to have done so in this case.
According to the this article:
The Sunday Times
December 10, 2006
Michael Gillard and Jonathan Calvert
SIR IAN BLAIR, the Metropolitan police commissioner, oversaw an illegal operation in which the telephone calls of black and Asian officers were bugged.
A panel led by a judge ruled last week that the covert operation by anti-corruption detectives breached surveillance regulations and the right to privacy.
The squad, known as the “Untouchables”, eavesdropped on private calls between members of the National Black Police Association (NBPA) and their legal adviser.
The ruling will further embarrass Blair, who earlier this year was forced to apologise to Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, and three officials for secretly recording his phone conversations with them. It was made by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a judicial panel that handles complaints about surveillance by law enforcement agencies and is understood to be the first time a complaint has been upheld.
The judgement by Justice Burton and two QCs found there were “no lawful grounds” for the bugging because detectives had failed to obtain proper consent.
The NBPA’s complaint to the tribunal, held last month, claimed the operation had a political objective “to undermine the legitimate activities of the association”.
The Met said it was reviewing the findings of the tribunal and assessing its implications.
Will Sir Ian Blair resign over this latest example of mismanagement and illegality under his command ?