what do I mean by that? well in Germany people's criminal records aren't public like in the US (you know when someone is a pedo or a rapist their name is revealed to the public) but in Germany it seems not to be the case for privacy reasons I guess?(not sure if it true)
now if someone had a long criminal record and a lot of people reported him to police in another country which is publicly available is it possible to use these records against him? and also when it comes to voice recordings is it possible to use recordings from another country where recording people without consent is legal and normal?

so in short "is it possible to use evidence that isn't accessible to the german public from another country?"

  • Would the evidence be legally obtained had it been found in Germany under German law?
    – Trish
    Jan 11, 2021 at 12:33
  • i am not sure, i think german police maybe have access to people criminal records and complaints but i don't think they share them with normal people, so if the person in question was living in a place where his criminal record is public can i use those against him?
    – Man seen
    Jan 11, 2021 at 12:39
  • to clarify: records of other countries would be requested by the court from other courts. Only the official record would be referenceable. but you point in your main body to a different question than that.
    – Trish
    Jan 11, 2021 at 12:48
  • 4
    What exactly do you mean with you (as a private person) "using someones criminal record against them"? If you know that your neighbor was convicted of rape in the United States, what do you intend to do with that information? What is the police supposed to do when he isn't an internationally wanted fugitive?
    – Philipp
    Jan 11, 2021 at 15:11
  • 1
    If you formally accuse somebody of a crime and then point to a published criminal record abroad, the police and prosecution might consider that a relevant clue and follow up. Or not. Their call. If you are involved in a criminal prosecution as a Nebenkläger, talk to your lawyer.
    – o.m.
    Jan 11, 2021 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


I think you are mixing different issues here.

  • For privacy reasons, media in Germany must not name certain suspects, and sometimes not certain convicted criminals. This leads to news reports like "the presumable perpetrator, Thomas A., ..." and it is (in theory) not publicly known who this "A." is.
    The police and the courts know the full name, of course. And so do viewers in the courtroom. Generally speaking it is possible to watch court proceedings in Germany. In high-profile cases slots may be limited and taken by the press, and there might be high-security cases (usually the same), but for average cases one can simply show up and listen. One cannot take pictures, however.
  • A criminal record may be entered into a trial. It might establish a pattern, or influence sentencing. Germany has lay judges (Schöffen) rather than an US-style jury, so there is less concern of preventing prejudice to a jury; the lay judges deliberate with the professional judges.
  • Evidence from abroad may be entered into a trial.
    • The German prosecution can request assistance from the police and prosecutors in other countries. That's relatively easy within the EU, more difficult for other countries.
    • Other countries send information to the German police, prosecutors, and intelligence services. At times, intelligence information can be used by German agencies to judge a situation but not revealed in court, so it cannot be used in a prosecution. The agencies know about a terrorist, but they cannot prove anything without betraying this confidence.
    • There are logistical and legal problems with that -- generally witnesses testify in court, where the judges judge their credibility. Witnesses can be heard by teleconference, but that is the exception.

So when the evidence is used in court, it usually becomes accessible to parts of the German public (those on the viewer's gallery of the courtroom). There are some situations where the public is excluded, e.g. where minors are involved.

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