Wellington High Court judge Justice Clifford issued his judgement today on the legality of the police search of Nicky Hager’s home on 2 October 2014.
The judge found that the search was illegal. He said that the Police had failed to disclose relevant information to the Judge who issued the warrant. As a result, he formally declared that the warrant was “fundamentally unlawful”. He also found that the search was therefore unlawful. Justice Clifford also expressed concerns about other aspects of the Police’s actions.
Mr Hager said he is very happy about the decision, for his family and because of the important principles it upholds.
“The heart of the case is the public’s right to receive information about the actions of people in positions of authority. This decision acknowledges that confidential sources used in investigative journalism, in this case my book Dirty Politics, deserve legal protection.”
More hearings will follow on other police actions taken against Mr Hager and on the subject of costs and damages. But Mr Hager said this decision was the most important one, affecting all news media and also present and future whistle blowers. “This decision is very good news for New Zealand journalism,” he said.
Mr Hager thanked the large numbers of people who donated money to help cover court costs and the experts who wrote affidavits supporting his case.