Monday, November 14, 2016

A costly abuse of power

In October 2014 the police raided the home of political journalist Nicky Hager. The search was later ruled illegal, and now the police have been ordered to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars as an interim payment of court costs:

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has been awarded interim legal costs towards $475,082 spent suing police.


The High Court has yet to hear Hager's claim for damages from police for breaching his rights. In the meantime, his lawyers asked for police to pay Hager's legal costs of $475,082.78.

Alternatively, they asked for costs on a reduced scale of $232,672.78.

Justice Denis Clifford awarded the lower level of costs, further reduced to pay for two lawyers but not for the third who appeared in court for Hager. The judge did not put a figure on the amount of the reduction.

He said that questions of how police obtained the warrant, searched Hager's home and responded to the court case, would all affect the final costs decision.

The police's abuse of power and political favour to the National Party is now getting very expensive. And again, you have to wonder if the police officers who made the decision, lied to the judge, and violated Hager's human rights - and our trust in them - will be held accountable in any way for their abusive behaviour. But I think we all know what the answer to that will be...