Friday, December 19, 2008

Police spied on case against them

I said there'd be worse in the police spying scandal, and there is. Not only were the police spying on activists, political parties, and unions - their informant was also forwarding information on a legal case against the police:

The police-paid spy Rob Gilchrist passed officers information about union pickets, student demonstrations, and a pepper-sprayed protester who was preparing a case against them.


Mr Gilchrist also forwarded an email from well-known activist Simon Oosterman, asking for witnesses to his pepper-spraying at a GE Free protest because he was preparing a case against police.

I'm trying to find out if there were any other emails on this topic forwarded on, or if this was the only one. But either way, it's extremely dodgy. The information in this email was not legally privileged, but it is still a gross abuse of power. Ultimately it did not undermine the case - Oosterman won, and got a judgement saying that there was no place for pepper spray in a democracy - but its still information that the police should never have been looking into. And it would be fascinating to learn what the SIG did with it (whether for example they passed it on to the police Oosterman was complaining about).

Oh, and to top it all off, the Herald reports the police spied on student anti-fees protests. If that's the Prime Minister's idea of a "threat to national security", then I humbly suggest he needs to pull his head out of his arse - and order a public inquiry ASAP.