In the meantime, defence lawyers are challenging the admissibility of EncroChat evidence in a number of cases in the Crown Court.
The arguments hinge on whether French investigators obtained the EncroChat messages while they were stored in phone handsets or whether they intercepted the messages during the course of transmission.
Under current UK law, electronic communications intercepted during transmission are inadmissible in criminal proceedings.
No5’s Schofield told Computer Weekly that dozens of people convicted solely on the basis of evidence from EncroChat may be able to seek redress from the Criminal Cases Review Commission if EncroChat evidence is found inadmissible.
"Law enforcement agencies need to ensure that the methods they use adhere to the required evidential standards. It is questionable whether this is currently the case, and I would not be surprised to see challenges to the admissibility of EncroChat evidence succeed in the coming months and years,” he said.
“Ultimately, we may see convictions quashed on a scale similar to the Post Office scandal, which saw dozens overturned because of flawed computer evidence," he added.
However many defendants in cases that rely solely on EncroChat evidence have pleaded guilty in return for lower sentences and are likely to face a high legal bar in having their cases overturned.
In the case of the Post Office, the court of appeal noted that "where a defendant has entered an unequivocal and intentional plea of guilty, the resultant conviction will rarely be found to be unsafe."
It overturned convictions of 39 sub-postmasters who had pleaded guilty because of the unreliability of the evidence against them from the Post Office's Horizon IT system, but also upheld the convictions of three sub-postmasters.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said in its May 2013 ruling that it would consider further legal issues raised by defence lawyers, including whether the EncroChat operation breached human rights law, once Crown Court proceedings had resolved the question of whether messages intercepted by EncroChat are admissible in criminal courts.
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