what value do messages have in a process?

Quite often one wonders if the messages exchanged on WhatsApp enjoy probative value in the context of a process. The regulations in this regard are not always easy to interpret and therefore it happens that the doubt remains.

Trying to clarify the matter, a recent ruling by the Cassation has focused on the ways in which it is currently possible to resort to WhatsApp chats for evidential and respective defense purposes.

The WhatsApp messages stored in the mobile phone memory are of the nature of documents

The key concept is reliability: how to proceed to ensure that WhatsApp chats are credible and unambiguous? In the civil trial, the judges have long considered the acquisition of WhatsApp messages as a common photocopy. For this reason, the screenshot assumed value only in the event that the opponent in court did not contest the correspondence with the original. Over time, however, there has been greater openness and the value of WhatsApp messages in civil cases is therefore recognized.

In the criminal trial the attitude was immediately less restrictive, taking into account the fact that the proof of a crime can also be traced back to simple statements made by the victim. The chats shown by the latter on her phone are therefore considered authentic. Once upon a time it was necessary to hand over the mobile phone to the judge, so that he could verify the reliability of the correspondence. Today we are witnessing a complete opening towards screenshots of chats on WhatsApp, forensic copy and transcriptions made by specialized companies.

However, there is also another modality that should be considered. For evidential purposes, WhatsApp messages can also be photographed directly by the judicial police on the smartphone display and have the nature of a document, as the correspondence to the original is consequent to the qualification of the agent who took the shot in question.

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