I recorded a call from my former roommate Who claims that I caused him to lose his deposit and he wants me to give it back (he apparently did some damage to the room we used to live in, and somehow after I left I caused the damage? somehow?) the important thing the conversation was like this:

  1. he: "I will find where you live and I will show you who really I am"

  2. me: "Is that a threat?"

  3. he:"Shut the Fck up Shut the Fck up or will break your fcking jaw I will break your Fcking jaw"

so can I go to the police with this as evidence? mind you I live in Germany and such recording isn't allowed, but again I don't think the police will believe me if I claim this without proof

1 Answer 1


Recording other people without consent is a crime (§ 201 StGB). But so is threatening other people with violence (§ 241 StGB). Secret recordings and other acts can still be legitimate if they are necessary and appropriate to deflect harm (§ 34 StGB), similar to how hurting someone can be legitimate if you're acting in self-defense. If you're prosecuted for this, it will be up to the court to determine if your act was necessary and proportionate.

But regardless of what you did, your recording can be used as evidence against the ex-roommate. German criminal law does not generally exclude illegally acquired evidence. The main risk of disclosing this recording is that you are also providing evidence against yourself for possible wiretapping charges (which may or may not be punishable as discussed above).

  • So what the worst the police will do if I told them about it ? will they charge me and restrain me? or is it up to the person that I recorded to fill a complaint ?
    – user39702
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:06
  • @user39702 The police officers will use their judgement, this is probably not the first time they're confronted with such a domestic dispute. In theory they could file charges against you themselves (it's not necessary for your roommate to press charges) but I don't think that's likely. It would make absolutely no sense for them to arrest you. A more realistic problem is that they might want to keep your phone as evidence.
    – amon
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:13
  • I forgot to mention me and him are from the same country and it's legal to record people without asking them there, and I can charge him there, so can I use this as a reason for recording him in Germany ? and not just that he also can record me in Germany and sue me back home and no one will care about consent
    – user39702
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:33
  • 1
    @user39702 I assume you're both in Germany? Then only German law applies. Foreign law cannot allow you to break German law (unless you're the CIA, lol). More precisely, the German perspective is that the same balancing must be made: does your legitimate interest in gathering evidence weigh enough to excuse the crime of the secret recording? Whether your act is legitimate doesn't depend on where you'd file charges. But it's unlikely that a court in your home country will claim jurisdiction in this case.
    – amon
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:54
  • thanks for the answers I will ask the final one if you don't mind: can a person living in a country (where you can record without consent) record an agreement while the other person is in Germany? will I be charged with anything ? if the other party let's say lied to me or doesn't want to follow the agreement? can i go to the police and tell them i made this recording internationally?
    – user39702
    Aug 27, 2021 at 20:39

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