Valore legale dei messaggi email whatsapp e sms nel processo

Have you ever wondered what legal value emails, messages and sms have in the court proceedings?

Do you know what’s the legal value of emails, sms, WhatsaApp and audio records?

If for some time this matter has been uncertain, there have intervened some sentences from the Court of Appeal to clarify some aspects related to the legal value of emails, sms, WhatsApp and audio records.

We’re talking about the sentences n. 49016/2017 of the Court of Appeal and the most recent  n. 19155/2019. sentence.

For those who are addicted to smartphones, it will be something to be taken in consideration from now on, during the conversations, messages, WhatsApp, sms,and emails exchanges

Accordding to the Court, indeed, these have a full value as legal evidences.

This means that the messages received and sent through WhatsApp and emails or sms are considered eligible to be introduced on trial, whether if it’s civil or penal: offensive messages, with a threatening or inappropriate content can be used to act by legal means against the sender.

It was already well-known that the conversations exchanged on WhatsApp have legal value, but what’s also very important is that, if you want them to be considered suitable on trial, it has to be acquired the telematic support.

Moreover, it’s been equally recognised the legal value of the sms and the emails as well, that can be disqualified just through generic objection presented by the lawyer.

Considering the spread of these communications tools, it’s clear the scale of these rulings and their practical implications.

This will permit you to acquire textual information, images and audio records exchanged on WhatsApp, emails and sms.

In this manner, it opens the doors to elements that can be fundamental for resolving a criminal case, and that were left on the sidelines before, considering their actual spreading among people.

Nevertheless, where there’s an acknowledgement, there’s also a definition of limit, in order to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the chats.

In particular, this would happen only through the direct examination of the hosting technical support.

Legal value of sms and emails

A sentence of the Court of Appeal, the n. 19155/2019, has given full probative value to sms and emails in court, by including them in the mechanical reproductions ex art. 2712 cc.

The proven facts by sms and emails, therefore, constitute a full proof on trial.

The counterparty can, though, deny them through dispute, to demonstrate with clear, explicit and well argued elements their non-conformity between sms and emails, and the reality.

Legal value of WhatsApp’s conversations

The Court has established, since 2017, that WhatsApp’s conversations  have legal value but, in order to be introduced and used on trial, it’s necessary to have the acquisition of the telematic support, through which there’s been the communication.

This directions has been confirmed and consolidated by the judgement subsequent, which considered the WhatsApp chats’ content, amongst which images, text messages, audio and video records, as storaging of historical facts and thus, perfectly suitable for the catalogue of documentary evidences, according to the art. 234 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to it, indeed, it’s allowed to acquire to trial also documents representing facts or people through photographic, cinematographic and phonographic reproductions or other suitable mean.

It precised as well that these contents, in order to be considered valuable, the acquisition of the smartphone on trial needs to happen during the trial.

Introduction methods of the conversations on trial

We already know that these means are considered valuable on trial, so the actual problem is to demonstrate the authenticity of the message.

With authenticity we mean the actual source of the cellphone which has sent or has received the message.

In order to do so, there are many methods.

Acquisition of the smartphone

It’s possible to be certain about the content just through the acquisition of the smartphone.

In fact, even if you want to present a phonographic or photographic representation, it is necessary to present the smartphone as well, otherwise these won’t have value.

Just with the exhibition of the smartphone, it will be possible to ensure certainty of the actual authenticity of the conversation content.

Screenshot

The screenshot consists in taking a picture of the screen of the smartphone, containing the convicted message.

The screenshot needs to be printed or attached to a file on a usb pen drive.

The paper or digital copy of a electronic document is a mechanical  reproduction as well as a photocopy: it can be considered valuable only if it’s not questioned by the counterparty.

The worth of the conversation could be, and it will in most of the cases, questioned by the counterparty, but the Court has established that this will be possible just for valid reasons, for example in cases when a central part of the text, the indication of the sender or the date are missing.

If the questioning goes forward, the material won’t be usable anymore in that trial and the message won’t be considered as an evidence.

Testimony of the chat

The introduction of the conversations on trial can take place also showing the messages to a third party, who has to be willing to testify about their content on trial, under oath.

This method is definetely considered safer than the acquisition by screenshot.

In this case, the message gets on trial as a testimonial evidence, but it is admitted just when it’s a direct witness, and never a hearsay one, which means that they became aware of the content indirectly through other people; this is only allowed when the subject is eye witness of the text or images.

In that case as well, in the cross-examination, the attorney of the counterpart can do something to discredit the witness with specifically designed questions.

Transcription of the conversations

The transcription the conversations is considered valid, but the counterpart can question it and require an evaluation about their veracity by an expert nominated by the judge.

The amrtphone will be given to the expert in order to verify what’s been requested by the counterpart: this will have to write out the text  on an official paper document that has full legal value on trial.

In conclusion, asserted by now the probatory value of the sms, WhatsApp’s conversations and emails, it will be even more important to be careful about what we write and send with our device to another.

If you want to avoid having presented your own words against yourselves, pay attention to what you write!

If for some time this matter has been uncertain, there have intervened some sentences from the Court of Appeal to clarify some aspects related to the legal value of emails, sms, WhatsApp and audio records.

We’re talking about the sentences n. 49016/2017 of the Court of Appeal and the most recent  n. 19155/2019. sentence.

For those who are addicted to smartphones, it will be something to be taken in consideration from now on, during the conversations, messages, WhatsApp, sms,and emails exchanges

Accordding to the Court, indeed, these have a full value as legal evidences.

This means that the messages received and sent through WhatsApp and emails or sms are considered eligible to be introduced on trial, whether if it’s civil or penal: offensive messages, with a threatening or inappropriate content can be used to act by legal means against the sender.

It was already well-known that the conversations exchanged on WhatsApp have legal value, but what’s also very important is that, if you want them to be considered suitable on trial, it has to be acquired the telematic support.

Moreover, it’s been equally recognised the legal value of the sms and the emails as well, that can be disqualified just through generic objection presented by the lawyer.

Considering the spread of these communications tools, it’s clear the scale of these rulings and their practical implications.

This will permit you to acquire textual information, images and audio records exchanged on WhatsApp, emails and sms.

In this manner, it opens the doors to elements that can be fundamental for resolving a criminal case, and that were left on the sidelines before, considering their actual spreading among people.

Nevertheless, where there’s an acknowledgement, there’s also a definition of limit, in order to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the chats.

In particular, this would happen only through the direct examination of the hosting technical support.

Legal value of sms and emails

A sentence of the Court of Appeal, the n. 19155/2019, has given full probative value to sms and emails in court, by including them in the mechanical reproductions ex art. 2712 cc.

The proven facts by sms and emails, therefore, constitute a full proof on trial.

The counterparty can, though, deny them through dispute, to demonstrate with clear, explicit and well argued elements their non-conformity between sms and emails, and the reality.

Legal value of WhatsApp’s conversations

The Court has established, since 2017, that WhatsApp’s conversations  have legal value but, in order to be introduced and used on trial, it’s necessary to have the acquisition of the telematic support, through which there’s been the communication.

This directions has been confirmed and consolidated by the judgement subsequent, which considered the WhatsApp chats’ content, amongst which images, text messages, audio and video records, as storaging of historical facts and thus, perfectly suitable for the catalogue of documentary evidences, according to the art. 234 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to it, indeed, it’s allowed to acquire to trial also documents representing facts or people through photographic, cinematographic and phonographic reproductions or other suitable mean.

It precised as well that these contents, in order to be considered valuable, the acquisition of the smartphone on trial needs to happen during the trial.

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