Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Justice for Nicky Hager

In October 2014, as part of a political investigation into the book Dirty Politics, police raided and searched the home of journalist Nicky Hager. The raid has spawned a series of ongoing court cases which have in turn exposed illegal behaviour by the police: they deliberately misled the judge to get the search warrant, and unlawfully obtained 10 months of Hager's banking records. And now, finally, they've admitted the entire thing was wrong and paid damages:

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has accepted a police apology and payment of "substantial damages" after the unlawful search of his home during the investigation into the hacking that led to the Dirty Politics book.

The settlement revealed police had sought information claiming Hager was suspected of criminal behaviour, including fraud.

"Police accept that they had no basis for such allegations," the settlement document read.

"Police apologise unreservedly for these breaches of his rights and have agreed to pay Mr Hager substantial damages and a contribution towards his legal costs."

The settlement also included police making a key admission around accessing Hager's banking data - a police practice used to get people's personal financial information without any legal order.

The full police apology is here.

Its good that they've settled and admitted their wrongdoing. But the real question is whether it will lead to any change of behaviour, or whether the police will continue raiding journalists whenever one offends the government of the day. And as no individual police officer seems to have been held to account, despite lying to a judge and systematically abusing their powers, I think we all know the answer to that.