From Iceland — New Laws May Delay Investigation Of Serious Offenses

New Laws May Delay Investigation Of Serious Offenses

Published May 26, 2016

Jóhanna Pétursdóttir
Photo by
screenshot RÚV

District Attorney Ólafur Þór Hauksson is concerned that a new bill about the conditions for intercepting phone calls could slow down police investigations of serious offenses.

RÚV reports that Ólafur released his review to the public yesterday as a response to a bill by Minister of the Interior Ólaf Nordal. The bill, if passed into law, would narrow the police’s possibilities for intercepting calls. The reason for this bill is partly because of criticism that these interceptions are used to a greater extent than is necessary and without enough justification.

The bill proposes that judges should appoint a lawyer for someone who stands accused of a crime and is going to be wiretapped. The lawyer has access to all the documents of the case and the right to express themselves after having become acquainted with them. This is designed to prevent executive powers from overstepping the bounds of the wiretap warrant.

Ólafur expressed his concerns in his report, stating in part, “This may be problematic due to the investigative needs imposed by the person against whom the claim is.”

The Legal Committee believes, however, that this bill is beneficial and will contribute to greater legal certainty.

Ólafur Þór has been criticised before for intercepting conversations of defendants and lawyers in cases related to the 2008 economic collapse.

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