The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (STJ) is in the process of
standardizing the understanding of the validity of messages exchanges
using the Whatsapp messaging application and the validity of the same as
evidence of a crime.
The standardization on the subject will be up to the 3rd Section, given that
the 5th and the 6th Panels have opposing understandings. The Justices of
the 5th Panel accepted screenshots because there is, in their view, no of
tampering with the evidence, which would occur by proving the suitability
of the chain of custody, which occurs, for example, with the drawing up of
notarial minutes.
Notarial minutes are nothing more than confirmation by an agent with
public faith that the information contained in a virtual environment or not,
was not subject to tampering by technological tools such as Photoshop.
The judges accepted that the logical temporal sequence allows the
visualization of the entire conversation, conferring suitability to the
evidence submitted. In turn, the accused never submitted his cell phone
to undergo an expert examination and affirm that those images had been
The debate is complex and goes beyond the captures alone, the context
and the adversarial and due process must be reviewed to identify the truth
that the evidence seeks to elucidate.
Finally, the discussion to be taken to the 3rd Section has the potential to
reach the Supreme Court (STF) and may suffer changes in its judgment.