Amsterdam court interrupts drug case to ask for Sky and Encro evidence

The court in Amsterdam decided on Monday to suspend the handling of a major drug case pending the preparation of questions from the court in Leeuwarden to the Supreme Court about evidence created by the hacks on Sky ECC and EncroChat. The lawyers requested this last week. In the past period, four courts in the Netherlands have interrupted the handling of a large drug case for this reason: in Leeuwarden, Zwolle, Utrecht and now in Amsterdam.

In the 26Velp case, the Amsterdam court wants to await the questions that will be submitted to the Supreme Court by the Northern Netherlands District Court (Leeuwarden). The court will decide how to proceed on December 20. The court may then decide to wait for the answers to the so-called preliminary questions to the Supreme Court. This can take about five months.

The Supreme Court will then answer legal questions raised by lawyers in many criminal cases about the Sky and Encro hacks. It is quite possible that the Supreme Court sees no problem in using the evidence from the encryption services. Other courts have sentenced people without objection based on messages allegedly sent by suspects using Sky or Encro phones.

The Public Prosecution Service has expressed itself in a letter to all courts against the cessation of criminal cases for this reason. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the messages can simply be used because they were obtained lawfully and because the method has been tested by judges in France in the Netherlands. The Public Prosecution Service speaks of a waste of hearing days as a result of the delays that the interruptions of criminal cases will cause.

But the Amsterdam court says it finds it important to await the formulation of the questions to be asked by the Northern Netherlands court before making a further decision in the investigation 26Velp.

The court says that the questions must address “the scope of the interstate principle of trust and – communicating with this – also the role of the Dutch court in the so-called source investigation of this investigation.”

The court says that answering the questions outweighs the fact that cases are further delayed and that hearing space is lost. The court also takes into account that the pre-trial detention of the suspects was already lifted in May 2021 and that the substantive treatment has not yet started and that no victims or injured parties have come forward.

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