Luxembourg court punts on crime video case

Homeowner may have violated vandals’ right to privacy by catching them red-handed on video

Třebíč, South Moravia/Brussels, Dec 11 (ČTK) — Czech house owner František Ryneš, who complained against being fined for using a video recording that helped identify two men who broke his window, is not surprised that the EU Court of Justice today did not clearly side with him, he has told the Czech News Agency.

The Luxembourg court ruled that the directive on protection of personal data concerns also camera systems installed on private buildings and recording public space. However, the court said the Czech courts should take into account the owner’s rightful interest in protecting property, health and life.

Ryneš said the court’s advocate general Niilo Jaaskinen took a similar position in summer already.

The Luxembourg court said Czech courts should decide whether the owner’s interest in property protection prevailed over the privacy of the perpetrator, based on the details of the case.

Ryneš produced the camera recording to prove the guilt of two vandals who broke a window of his house in Třebíč, but one of the vandals filed a complaint with the Czech Personal Data Protection Office against the making of the video recording, and the office imposed a fine on Třebíč.

He said the two men who broke the window were not punished.

Ryneš took the matter to court and his case finally got to the Supreme Administrative Court, which addressed the Luxembourg court, asking whether it considers the recording unlawful.

Ryneš said it needs to be said whether the right of the criminals prevails over the right of those who protect themselves against crime.

“I would like the Supreme Administrative Court to make this absolutely clear,” he said.

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