|James Malone, a former antiques dealer from Dorking in Surrey
Artificially bred A Surrey businessman who accused the police of illegallytappinghis phone is celebrating after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
|1984: Euro Court condemns phone-tapping
James Malone, a former antiques dealer from Dorking in Surrey, claims that while he was on trial for handling stolen goods in 1977, the policeinterceptedhis telephone calls and his post.
In 1979, Mr Malone, who was acquitted on all charges, unsuccessfully tried to sue the Metropolitan Police in the High Court but the court said it had nojurisdictionin the matter.
Following a six-year campaign, Mr Malone's case was finally referred to the European Courts in May last year and a panel of 18 judges ruled today that the UK government was inbreachof the European Convention.
Mr Malone was delighted by the decision although he is not convinced the practice will stop.
Any safe-guard they bring in will just be to ensure that no-one will catch them doing it
He said: "I am very pleased but I think that all that will happen is that the police or the government will not be caught with their trousers down again.
"Any safe-guard they bring in will just be to ensure that no-one will catch them doing it."
The British government has been told by the European Court to change its 'obscure' regulations.
Ministers had argued that post and telephone interceptions were justified in the interests of crime prevention and it was not necessary to incorporate regulations into the law.
Up to now, police have been allowed to carry out up to 400 phone-taps and 100 mail interceptions a year with authorisation from the home secretary.
There are also fears that the introduction of new electronic telephone exchanges will make the practice of phone-tapping even easier.
Campaigners have now called for new legislation which would require a judge to authorise all phone-taps.
The Home Office confirmed tonight the regulations will be revised and legislation will be introduced to take into account the European Court's judgement.