Police will likely have to disclose Hager raid documents
A judge has signalled he will likely order police to disclose some documents they want to keep secret about the decision to raid author Nicky Hager's home looking for the identity of the email hacker Rawshark.
Electronic and other material seized in the early October search of Hager's Wellington home is sealed at the High Court at Auckland.
Hager wants the High Court to review the police decision to get a search warrant and conduct the search.
In Wellington today Hager's lawyers asked Justice Robert Dobson to order police to hand over documents about the decisions.
Police say they followed a standard process and Hager is not entitled to the information. They also say Hager's court action is holding up the police investigation into the identity of Rawshark, the person allegedly responsible for hacking the emails of blogger Cameron Slater, which were used in Hager's book Dirty Politics.
Hager's lawyer, Julian Miles, QC, who confessed he had not read Dirty Politics, said Hager was entitled to know whether police considered journalistic privilege not to reveal sources before deciding to search.
Hager also wanted to know if police had exhausted other ways of identifying Rawshark before asking for a search warrant.
Police knew Hager at least believed he had taken steps to delete the identify of the hacker.
Three journalists for national organisations, including Fairfax NZ, also claimed to have been in contact with the person known as Rawshark but police chose to raid Hager's home rather than their offices, Miles said.
The search was "stock standard" for police, lawyer Brendan Horsley said.
It was a criminal case and anything to do with how the police might investigate it was not for the court to oversee.
Protecting the source of a journalist had to be weighed against investigating the criminal hacking of a private individual's computer, Horsley said.
The judge said his present intention was to impose an obligation "of sorts" on police to provide information to Hager.
He expects to give his decision next week.
In the meantime the parties are still talking about how Hager can get a copy of the information seized. He has so far objected to it being copied at the police electronic crime laboratory because he says the information seized contains allegations of police corruption.
Hager's challenge to the search and seizure of the information is due to be heard next March.
- The Dominion Post