Police undertaking to Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager allegedly broken

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager.
MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager.

Police broke their undertaking not to use information seized from the home of Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager, the investigative journalist's lawyer claims.

Officers acting on a complaint from blogger Cameron Slater, whose hacked emails were the source of much of Dirty Politics, seized electronic and other material in the early October search of Hager's Wellington home.

Hager wants the High Court to review the police decision to get a search warrant and conduct the search. He says his information should not have been seized because it was covered by journalistic privilege.

In the leadup to a hearing of Hager's claim, his lawyers have continued to ask for copies of relevant police documents.

Some of the documents have been shown to Hager in an edited form. One that was first released in edited form was later shown in its entirety.

Hager's lawyer, Felix Geiringer, says the unedited version indicates police have broken the undertaking to seal Hager's information and not use any of it pending a decision in the case.

It is alleged an officer involved in the search read a document and instructed another officer to make inquiries about a person whose name appeared in the document.

As a result, Geiringer wanted police to hand over all documents produced as a result of seeing the name among Hager's information.

Police said they should not have to give copies of documents about the person that were made independent of the Hager search.

In a decision issued from the High Court at Wellington, Justice Robert Dobson has decided police documents resulting from the person's name appearing in the Hager information had to be shown to Hager.

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Police also made an audio recording that captured some of what was said during the search of Hager's house. Parts of a transcript of the recording have been given to Hager, who was out of Wellington when his house was searched.

The judge has upheld editing of the transcript in several respects but said some parts of it that police wanted to withhold, should be disclosed to Hager.

 - Stuff

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