Nicky Hager gets interim costs award against police for illegal search case

Last updated 17:50 11/11/2016

Nicky Hager was not home, but his daughter was, when police searched his house in 2014.

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

The author of Dirty Politics won the first part of his case against police for the way a warrant was obtained to search his Wellington home in October 2014.

Police said they were looking for evidence of the identity of a computer hacker who gave Hager material for his book.

A High Court judge found police breached their duty of candour in the information they gave a district court judge who was asked to issue the warrant.

* Nicky Hager challenges police raid
* Police undertaking to Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager allegedly broken
* Nicky Hager wins 'landmark' case against police over search of home
* Police decide against appealing High Court ruling on illegal Nicky Hager search 

Special rules apply to looking for information from and about journalists, and the judge's attention was not drawn to that.

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. 

Hager referred questions about the legal costs to his lawyer, Felix Geiringer, who could not be contacted.

A fundraising website received $65,810 to contribute to Hager's legal expenses.

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