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The Supreme decides that secretly recording a conversation is not illegal or disrespectful

Exculpates a civil guard sanctioned for using a recorder in a meeting with a superior.

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The Supreme decides that secretly recording a conversation is not illegal or disrespectful

Exculpates a civil guard sanctioned for using a recorder in a meeting with a superior


The Supreme Court (TS) has ruled that secretly recording a conversation is neither an illegal act nor a lack of respect towards the other person and has withdrawn a sanction from the Civil Guard, confirmed by the Central Military Court, on a sergeant of the Meritorious for recording a meeting with a superior, although the magistrates do not enter into assessing what would happen if the recorded content had been released.

This is what was established in a ruling dated July 6, by the Military Chamber of the Supreme Court, which upheld the civil guard's appeal and annulled the five-day suspension of duties, considering that "recording a conversation by one of the participants in it cannot by itself be considered an illegal act".

In the sentence, collected by Europa Press, the TS magistrates explain that if one of those present in a conversation decides to record it "it is not something that can be considered a lack of respect, because the interlocutor can be respected and, despite of it, record the conversation". "Neither for this reason is he made less or seriously lacking courtesy with the interlocutor," they add.

However, the Supreme Court clarifies that "a different issue" would be the dissemination of the recorded conversation, something that in this specific case the Chamber does not analyze because "that fact is not the one that arises here."

The events date back to February 7, 2020, around nine o'clock at night, during a meeting between the sergeant and a chief captain of the Pamplona Company at the Beriain barracks (Navarra), who was joined by a lieutenant, to clarify a service incident.

The sergeant recorded that meeting "without the authorization or knowledge" of "none" of those present with a device that he had inside a pocket of his shirt. The conversation "was exclusively about service issues," explains the sentence.

But while they were speaking, a "strange mechanical sound" alerted their interlocutors, who, "puzzled", began to look for where it was coming from. The sergeant reacted by taking out the recorder and admitting, in a state of "nervousness", that he was recording, he said, because things were not going well for him at work.

The captain made him ugly and warned him that what he had done was disrespectful and disloyal, to which the sergeant responded by asking for forgiveness, both from him and the lieutenant. He then told them that his conduct was "following bad advice."

The sanctioned sergeant appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that he had not recorded anything, that no one had heard the alleged recording and that the noise occurred when the recorder button was pressed.

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