Nov 242013
 November 24, 2013  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Following up on a case mentioned previously on this blog involving a stepfather who surreptitiously viewed his 14 year-old stepdaughter in the shower, there’s been a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. James Michael writes:

The European Court of Human Rights has decided that it is a violation of the right to privacy if a country does not have a law prohibiting surreptitious photography of people. The ruling has serious implications for paparazzi, and would have been useful to Princess Diana.  A ready-made bill exists in the form of a draft published by the Law Commission for England and Wales in 1981.

On 12 November the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Sweden’s lack of a legal ban on invading personal privacy by surreptitious photographs violated the right to privacy. The case involved a camera hidden in the bathroom by the stepfather of a fourteen-year old girl. (Söderman v. Sweden, application no. 5786/08).

This was a violation of the Article 8 right to respect for private life of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Swedish legal system at the time did not prohibit filming without someone’s consent, and so had not protected her against the violation of her privacy.

Read more on UK Human Rights Blog.

Words simply cannot convey my respect for Ms. Söderman for pursuing this matter when she did not get a full measure of justice in the Swedish courts.  Whether the outcome of her willingness to pursue this will result in governments doing a better job of protecting children from such egregious conduct remains to be seen, but at least there will need to be laws on the books criminalizing such conduct and having penalties in place.

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