Here’s What The Supreme Court Says About Secretly Recording A Phone Call

Did you know that secretly recording a phone call is against law?

Yesterday, the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah went viral after a video call conversation between him and an unidentified lady, who is believed to be his side chick surfaced on social media.

The married father of four was secretly recorded with another phone having a lovey-dovey conversation with a lady. At a point in their conversation, the minister told the lady that her hugs put him to sleep.

However, since the video went viral, others have been quick to question the minister’s moral integrity while others also accuse the lady of invading the minister’s privacy.

Since the accusation of invasion of privacy is a legal matter, we took a look at what the court has said about privacy and specifically privacy that involves a phone call.

On 28th February 2018, the Supreme Court gave a landmark ruling on this regard.

It was a case between one Raphael Cubagee, the plaintiff versus Michael Yeboah Asare, K. Gyasi Company Limited and the Assembly Of God Church as the defendants.

In providing evidence in a land case before a magistrate court, the plaintiff sought to submit an audio recording of a telephone conversation he had with one John Felix Yeboah, a Superintendent Minister who was representing his church, the 3rd defendant, in the case.

Raphael claimed the recorded conversation covered matters that were in contention in the case before the court and he wanted to use it to prove that the Superintendent Minister in that conversation admitted plaintiff’s side of the case.

The lawyer for the defendant objected to the tendering of the recording on, among other grounds, that it was made surreptitiously by the plaintiff without the consent of the said John Felix Yeboah and therefore in violation of his rights to privacy guaranteed by Article 18(2) of the Constitution.

Article 18(2) of the Constitution provides as follows;

“(2) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others.”

This was a matter referred to the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the right of privacy as provided in the constitution in relation to the admissibility of evidence in the form of a secretly recorded telephone conversation.

The court determined whether the secret recording the defendant’s right to privacy. The court held that the recording interfered with the defendant’s right beyond what he had consented.

This is because the defendant opted for a means of communication that did not record his speech in a permanent form.

The court also determined the admissibility of the evidence since it was obtained in violation of human rights.

The court noted that Ghana does not contain a provision that provides for circumstances in which a court is required to exclude such evidence. The court was in favour of the discretionary rule approach that takes into account policy considerations when enforcing human rights by excluding evidence.

It was held that admission of such evidence would undermine the integrity of court proceedings and bring disrepute to the administration of justice and should be excluded.  Accordingly, the court gave an order to the same effect.

“In conclusion, therefore, we answer the question referred to us as follows; the secret recording of John Felix Yeboah, the Superintendent Minister and representative of the 3rd defendant by the plaintiff amounted to a violation of the privacy rights of the said John Felix Yeboah. In all the circumstances of this case, the secret recording ought to be excluded from the evidence in the case,” the Supreme Court judges wrote in their February 28 judgement.

To read the full judgement of this case, click here.

Source: Ghana Legal Information Institute||

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