27 Jan 2016

Hager decision won't be appealed by police

9:15 pm on 27 January 2016

Police will not be appealing Nicky Hager's High Court victory late last year which found the warrant used to search his home was "fundamentally unlawful", the journalist says.

Nicky Hager walking into Wellington High Court 15/07/15

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

His home was searched in 2014 amid an investigation into the hunt for sources who contributed to his book Dirty Politics.

The search took place after blogger Cameron Slater laid a complaint when information from his computer, obtained by a hacker known as Rawshark, was published in the book.

But in December, the High Court in Wellington ruled that the warrant used was "fundamentally unlawful", because officers failed to disclose key information to the judge who sanctioned the search.

Mr Hager's legal team said the author was now entitled to get his belongings back.

These items included computer equipment and documents that have been held sealed at the High Court in Auckland for more than a year.

In a statement on the Dirty Politics website, Mr Hager said he hoped to collect his computers in person from the Auckland High Court next week.

"Having my work materials and machines kept from me for over a year has been a considerable inconvenience. I will be relieved to have them back."

At the time of the ruling, Mr Hager told RNZ it was a good day for journalism.

"If this decision had gone the wrong way then all around the country, and into the future, there would have been people we needed to be speaking up on issues as sources - telling the media what was going, on letting the public know about things - who would have been more frightened of doing that."

After the ruling, police said they would take time to study the decision and consider further legal options with Crown Law, but Mr Hager today said he understood the decision would not be appealed.

A police spokesman confirmed they would not appeal the case, and said police were reviewing the way they applied for search warrants involving potential claims of privilege.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs