Hundreds of confidential lawyer-client conversations recorded in Dutch prisons
Since the start of this year, 321 confidential conversations between prisoners and their lawyers were recorded by custodial institutions agency DJI. This happened by mistake, and that has now been rectified, the DJI said to 1Limburg.
Prisoners are allowed to make a 10 minute call at least once per week through the Telephony for Detainees system. Those calls are recorded to "prevent continued criminal acts in detention", the DJI spokesperson said.
Conversations with lawyers are not supposed to be recorded. The system filters these out based on caller ID and does not record them. But due to an error in the system, numbers from law firms were not recognized when an extension was used. These were recorded.
The error was discovered on September 16 at the prison at Schiphol. When listening to a recording, a DJI worker realized it was a conversation with a lawyer and sounded the alarm. According to the DJI, the wrongly recorded conversations were deleted and were not listened to. The error has been corrected, the spokesperson said to 1Limburg.
Sjoerd van Berge Henegouwen, one of the criminal defense attorney's whose conversations were recorded, does not believe the DJI's explanation. "Time and again it appears that the judiciary cannot resist listening in on conversations between lawyers and their clients. Each time there is a different excuse and it is always a bit by accident. It is clear to me that the judiciary cares little about the professional confidentiality of lawyers,' he said to 1Limburg.