Cellphone data is critical evidence in Gill Packham murder

The content of text messages between Rob Packham and his murdered wife Gill has aided police in answering critical questions about her death, according to the Rapport.

It stated that police used a section 205 subpoena to obtain Packham’s cellphone call records as well as those of her family.

There was “a lot of interaction” on the couple’s phones on the day of Packham’s disappearance, it added.

Rapport said Packham suffered head injuries and was likely attacked in her house before her body was loaded into her BMW.

Her burnt body was discovered last week at the Diep River station in the boot her car, which had been set alight.

Subpoena controversy

Right2Know previously expressed concerns over a loophole in South Africa’s criminal law that allows magistrates to authorise thousands of “surveillance operations” which ignore RICA procedures.

Legal experts have said that when police want call records, they must apply for them in terms of RICA. An appointed judge may then grant an “interception direction”.

However, police have been bypassing this process using subpoenas issued in terms of Section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act.

Section 205 warrants may be granted by a magistrate, rather than a judge, with reports suggesting that many magistrates simply rubber stamp the applications.

Now read: South African police phone surveillance abuse must end — R2K

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Cellphone data is critical evidence in Gill Packham murder