Solicitor Patrick Madden of Madden & Finucane Solicitors who represents the majority of defendants charged in Northern Ireland said:
“We represent the majority of defendants currently charged to court on Encrochat related offences in this jurisdiction.
“Whilst we are disappointed that the English Court of Appeal has dismissed this appeal and ruled in favour of the admissibility of this evidence, there will be further legal challenges on the horizon in England and in this jurisdiction.
“In particular, there are grave concerns over the lack of transparency in the secretive data breach by the French authorities.
“It has not been disclosed how the implanted bugs actually infiltrated the Encrochat network. The French authorities will not disclose that information on national security grounds.
“Furthermore, the French authorities won’t attend court to give evidence at any trial.
“There are also concerns over the reliability of the raw data relied on by the NCA. This will also be subject to challenge.
“We anticipate that there will be further hurdles for the prosecution in preparation for these trials.
“We are giving full and urgent consideration to the contents of the English judgment.
“Whilst this ruling is binding in England, it is only persuasive in the courts in this jurisdiction.
“We have grave and fundamental objections in respect of how this material was obtained. We consider that it is improperly and illegally obtained evidence. In our view this jurisdiction should be taking an independent and extremely robust approach to the question of the lawful admissibility of this evidence.
“We are looking forward to the challenges that need to be litigated as a matter of urgency given today’s ruling in London.
“These circumstances urgently require a rigorous and thoroughly independent level of judicial scrutiny.”