EXCLUSIVE: EnroChat protest outside Manchester Crown Court as major case is heard inside


A PROTEST was held outside Manchester Crown Court this morning as a major EncroChat case was heard inside.

A small number of demonstrators held banners raising concerns about evidence being used in EncroChat prosecutions.

More than 1,500 people have been charged mainly with drugs and money laundering offences after more than 2,800 arrests took place across the UK from summer 2020.

It was after French and Dutch police hacked into the supposedly encrypted EncroChat mobile phone system used by 60,000 people worldwide and about 9,000 in the UK.

European investigators allowed the British National Crime Agency (NCA) and UK police forces access to historic messages sent on the phones but also new ones being sent in real time.

Many EncroChat defendants have already pleaded guilty or have been convicted, but several are making legal challenges about how the hack was carried out and about the admissibility of the real time evidence.

Lawyers for the defendants claim the hack was a "live intercept" which would mean the evidence of real time messages could not be used in UK courts.

Some appeals have already been rejected but others continue.

One case has just begin at Manchester.

Banners about the prosecutions were held outside the court (above).

In a video one protestor said: "Here we are again. Now we are at Manchester Crown Court - Encro - setting up another peaceful protest."

A separate challenge has been made to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IIPT), which which operates independently of government to provide a right of redress for anyone who believes they have been a victim of unlawful action by a public authority using covert investigative techniques, and a full hearing over the matter is set to take place shortly.

At Manchester Crown Court today legal arguments were made about further evidence disclosures and the case was adjourned until later this year.