AFP search of journalist’s home illegal

Original article by Michael Pelly, Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 16-Apr-20

Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw says News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst could still face criminal charges despite a landmark High Court ruling on the legal validity of a search warrant. The court has unanimously ruled that the warrant used to search her home in June 2019 was invalid as it was too imprecise and "impossibly wide". However, the court narrowly rejected an application for an injunction requiring the AFP to return or destroy data that it seized in the raid.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE

High Court to rule on warrant AFP used to raid journalist Annika Smethurst’s Canberra home

Original article by Elizabeth Byrne, Matthew Doran
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 15-Apr-20

The issue of press freedom will come under scrutiny again on 15 April, when the High Court decides on the validity of a search warrant used in a media raid in June 2019. News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst has challenged the legal validity of the search warrant issued to Australian Federal Police officers who raided her home in Canberra. Her lawyers have argued amongst other things that the law under which the warrant was issued was invalid because it breached the implied constitutional right to freedom of political communication. The ABC has unsuccessfully challenged the search warrant used in a separate raid on its Sydney premises.

CORPORATES
HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

ABC won’t appeal Federal Court ruling that found AFP raids on public broadcaster valid

Original article by
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 28-Feb-20

ABC MD David Anderson has advised that the public broadcaster will not contest the Federal Court’s recent decision to dismiss its challenge to the validity of police raids on its Sydney offices in mid-2019. The court found that the Australian Federal Police’s warrant to search the ABC’s premises was valid, and it ordered the broadcaster to pay costs. Anderson has described the ruling as a "blow to media freedom", adding that it has implications for journalists and the public’s right to know.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Reporters’ data targeted

Original article by Tamsin Rose
Herald Sun – Page: 8 : 6-Feb-20

A Department of Home Affairs report shows that Australian Federal Police officers were granted six warrants to access the telephone data of journalists during 2018-19. This is three times more than in the previous financial year. The warrants also allowed the AFP to access 20 historical data sets containing information about the journalists’ calls, texts and emails. Government agencies were also issued with 3,561 interception warrants in 2018-19. The AFP came under scrutiny in 2019 over a series of media raids.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE

AFP raid on journo’s home trespass

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 7 : 13-Nov-19

The High Court has been told that a warrant to search a News Corp Australia journalist’s home was invalid as it did not state the exact nature of her alleged offence. The lawyer representing Annika Smethurst also alleged that the Australian Federal Police’s search warrant infringed the implied freedom of political communication. Stephen Lloyd SC said the AFP should be either forced to delete any files it had extracted from Smethurst’s mobile phone during the raid in June, or be subject to a court order preventing any use of those files.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NATIONWIDE NEWS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SIGNALS DIRECTORATE

ABC raid could scare off sources

Original article by Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 30-Oct-19

The Federal Court has adjourned its hearing into the ABC’s legal challenge to the validity of a police raid on its Sydney headquarters in June. Matt Collins, SC, who is representing the public broadcaster, has told the court that whistleblowers will be reluctant to contact journalists if the Australian Federal Police’s search warrant is not overturned. Amongst other things, the ABC’s case is based on the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Secrecy law a burden: HRC

Original article by Nicola Berkovic
The Australian – Page: 5 : 18-Oct-19

Details of submissions to News Corp Australia’s legal challenge to the validity of a police raid on the home of journalist Annika Smethurst have been released. The Australian Human Rights Commission’s submission has broadly supported News Corp’s stance, although it has taken a different legal approach to the issue, arguing that secrecy laws limit the freedom of political expression. Constitutional law expert George Williams, says the two approaches could both support the media group’s view that the raid on Smethurst was unlawful.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA

PM rejects fears on press freedom

Original article by Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 2 : 6-Sep-19

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stressed that the Coalition is "absolutely" committed to press freedom. He has also expressed his view that there are sufficient protections for whistleblowers, while he has defended the Australian Federal Police over the recent raid on the Canberra home of Australian Signals Directorate officer Cameron Gill. News Corp Australia executive Campbell Reid has claimed that the AFP raid was aimed at intimidating potential whistleblowers into not approaching the media.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIAN SIGNALS DIRECTORATE, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, LAW COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Lawyers unite to stop erosion of freedoms

Original article by Chris Merritt
The Australian – Page: 6 : 4-Sep-19

The Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC’s Sydney offices and the home of a News Corp journalist continue to attract scrutiny. Law Council president Arthur Moses will use a National Press Club speech on 4 September to express concern that Australians’ rights and freedoms are being eroded in the interests of ensuring national security. Victorian Bar president Matt Collins will in turn urge changes to the nation’s defamation laws. The ABC and News Corp are expected to challenge the legality of the AFP raids under the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, LAW COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, VICTORIAN BAR INCORPORATED, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (AUSTRALIA), ALLIANCE FOR JOURNALISTS’ FREEDOM

ABC loses bid to see federal police reasons for search warrant

Original article by Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 : 21-Aug-19

The Federal Court has ruled that the ABC had no "proper basis" for its claim that the Australian Federal Police failed to consider public policy factors when it applied for a warrant to search the public broadcaster’s Sydney offices in June. These factors included the protection of journalists’ sources and the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution. The ABC is seeking to have the AFP’s warrant declared invalid and return of documents that were seized in the raid.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA