Supreme Court admitted ANOM messages into evidence

The Supreme Court issued a precedent ruling noting that even though access to the messages had been obtained through unlawful means, their admission into evidence did not compromise the fairness of the trial.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Australian Federal Police had co-operated in a sting operation, providing a messaging app called ANOM, running on modified smartphones. ANOM phones had been distributed especially among persons involved in organised crime. The messaging service had been touted as being fully secure, but in fact the messages had been stored on a FBI-operated server. The FBI had then forwarded messages to other countries.

The public prosecutor in Finland had brought charges against several defendants for aggravated narcotics offences and offered intercepted ANOM messages as evidence. The defendants had argued that the messages should be ruled inadmissible as evidence, as they had been obtained through unlawful means and their use would compromise the fairness of the trial. Both the District Court of Kymenlaakso and the Court of Appeal of Eastern Finland had rejected the inadmissibility argument. The Supreme Court upheld the result of the Court of Appeal decision regarding inadmissibility. The Supreme Court held that the evidence had been obtained through unlawful means, as the interception had constituted a violation of privacy and of the confidentiality of communications without legal authorisation. That being said, it was held that the admission of the messages into evidence did not compromise the fairness of the trial, and the messages were therefore not ruled inadmissible.

The defendants had been convicted of aggravated narcotics offences and other crimes, by and large as charged, and sentenced to imprisonment for several years. In this respect, the judgment of the Court of Appeal was not under appeal before the Supreme Court.

More information from the referendary, Ms Elina Elo, tel. +358 29 56 40055, elina.elo(at)

Copies of the ruling KKO 2023:14 (R2022/712, 23.2.2023, in Finnish) can be ordered from the Supreme Court Registry, tel. +358 29 56 40050, korkein.oikeus(at)

Published 23.2.2023