The Swiss Federal Court has ruled that the use of police video surveillance to gather evidence of a crime in a work space must be approved by the public prosecutor’s office and a compulsory measures court.
The ruling was based on a case in canton Solothurn where cash was repeatedly going missing from a company’s safe. Management told the cantonal police, who, with the management’s permission, set up a video camera in the office and kitchen area. This was used only by staff, was separate from the customer area and was where the safe was located, according to a court statementexternal link published on Thursday.
Based on this video evidence, the public prosecutor started proceedings against a female member of staff.
After a court of first instance acquitted her, the cantonal court found her guilty of multiple theft and fined her CHF500 ($503).
She appealed, and the Federal Court has now upheld her appeal, saying the video recordings violated the woman’s basic rights, were inadmissible as evidence and must be destroyed.
The Federal Court said the public prosecutor needed to have got the surveillance approved by a compulsory measures court. The permission of the company was not enough, it added.
The cantonal court of first instance must now consider whether the remaining evidence – time sheets and statements – are enough for a conviction.