Offences Relating to Encrypted Phones

If you are facing a potential criminal charge relating to the use of an encrypted mobile phone, the experts at JMW Solicitors can provide you with the legal advice, support and representation you will need to defend yourself.

Criminal investigations based on evidence retrieved from “Encro” phones are often serious for those involved, and if found guilty of an offence, the sentence could include imprisonment. When facing such allegations, it is important to have expert legal representation from the outset to give you the best possible chance of defending yourself.

JMW Solicitors are leading experts in this area of law, and represent and advise suspects who are currently under investigation, as well as defendants who now face criminal proceedings following their encrypted phone being compromised. We can offer you tailored legal advice of the very highest quality throughout your case.

For more information on how we can defend you against a charge related to an encrypted phone, call JMW today on 0800 652 5559, or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back at your convenience.

How JMW Can Help

At JMW, our private client criminal law service is designed to provide a first-class level of care to those facing criminal allegations of any kind, and we have particular expertise in representing those facing charges pertaining to the activity of organised criminal groups.

We currently represent and advise individuals and groups across the country who have already been arrested and prosecuted due to their encrypted phones being compromised, with our services including:

  • Advising you during an interview under caution
  • Investigating the prosecution’s evidence
  • Compiling the strongest possible case for your defence, to be presented in the right way
  • Providing national court representation

We have experience representing clients in every court in England and Wales, from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court, and can provide assistance throughout proceedings. The bespoke nature of our service means we are able to be as dedicated and thorough as required in cases such as these.

What are the potential offences relating to encrypted phones?

It is not a criminal offence to own an encrypted phone. Encro phones were originally intended for military use, and have also been purchased by celebrities seeking to ensure their privacy; however, the contents of the phone and messages sent and received may implicate the owner of the device in any number of criminal offences. 

This has become a major issue in recent times after EncroChat - the messaging service used by encrypted phones - was compromised, revealing messages relating to the discussion, planning or arranging of criminal offences, from drug dealing to sexual offences and violent offences. In these cases, it is highly likely that the owner of the phone, and those they were in communication with, will be arrested and investigated for those offences.

As the EncroChat network was previously considered secure and untraceable, the use of Encro phones has often been associated with criminal activity and organised crime groups. This breach has therefore led to mass arrests across the UK, with many individuals who have used an Encro device and EncroChat now facing criminal prosecution. 

It should also be noted that under section 53 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2002 (RIPA), it is an offence for a suspect to fail to disclose a password or code allowing access to electronic data, when served with a section 49 notice requiring them to do so.

For more information on the legal challenges surrounding encrypted phones, read our blog post here.


What sentences could I face for an offence related to an encrypted phone?

Varying and numerous offences are being investigated by the authorities as a result of EncroChat evidence that has now been obtained. The seriousness of the sentences that will be received by individuals and groups will therefore vary depending upon the severity of the alleged crimes.

For example, evidence revealing the existence of an organised crime group would be likely to lead to the arrest of individuals at all levels of the organisation, with those considered to be leading the group facing potential sentences of imprisonment of more than 20 years. 

It should also be considered that the use of encrypted devices will be deemed by the courts as an aggravating factor in the case for the prosecution, and therefore any sentence is likely to be more severe, due to the fact that the offence was planned and sophisticated in nature. 

A criminal charge of any kind is always a serious allegation, and there is a significant risk that a sentence of imprisonment will be imposed by the court. It is therefore essential to seek expert legal advice if you are facing such a charge.

Can I defend a charge related to an encrypted phone?

The nature of the evidence being taken from Encro phones, and the means by which it has been obtained, means that it is possible to challenge the legality of this evidence being used by the prosecution in criminal proceedings. 

For example, it may be possible to challenge the admissibility of the evidence if it can be argued that enforcement agencies obtained it illegally. The court will be required to consider the circumstances in which the material was obtained, and whether this impacts upon the fairness of a trial; it may additionally be argued that Encro evidence was obtained by intercepting telephone networks, and that for the evidence to be heard by a court would undermine the secrecy of crime detection agencies. 

Each case is unique and a defence should be fully explored with appropriate legal advice. The nature of the specific criminal offence will need to be examined in detail, and any specific defences that can be raised will be explored. This is a complex area of law and can be critical to successfully defending a criminal case, which is why robust legal advice is therefore essential.

For more information on the possible routes to challenge the admissibility of Encro evidence, read our blog post that explores the matter in greater detail.

Talk to Us

Get in touch with the expert team at JMW today for advice in relation to any offences relating to EncroChat or encrypted phones. Call us on 0800 652 5559, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible. 

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