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CCTV footage of suicide attempt used for publicity

Peck v. the United Kingdom  | 2003

CCTV footage of suicide attempt used for publicity

Didn't anyone wonder what effect this could have on someone who had already tried to commit suicide?

Geoffrey Peck, as reported by The Independent

Background

Geoffrey Peck suffered from depression. He attempted suicide, by cutting his wrists with a knife in the street. The police intervened to save his life.

The local council’s CCTV cameras captured the incident. The council then released the footage to the media. Pictures from the video were published in local newspapers, and the footage itself appeared on national television. Family and friends told Mr Peck that they had seen the incident on TV. Mr Peck was still suffering from severe depression at the time.

Mr Peck complained of an unnecessary violation of his privacy.   

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The court ruled that, in the circumstances, the council’s disclosure of the CCTV footage had been unjustified and disproportionate. This had violated Mr Peck’s right to private life.

Follow-up

The law and regulations were changed to require systematic justification for the use of CCTV, to restrict the disclosure of CCTV images to third parties and to set clear restrictions on monitoring and recording conversations in public spaces.  

Additional information