New Zealand's Raid On Investigatory Journalist Was Illegal

from the all-these-raids dept

Back in the fall of 2014, we wrote about a highly questionable police raid on the home of Nicky Hager, a well-known journalist who had published powerful pieces criticizing the government (and who was working on some investigations concerning the Snowden documents and New Zealand's involvement in mass surveillance). The wonderful Freedom of the Press Foundation (who helped raise funds for Hager's legal defense) has now alerted us to the fact that the raid on Hager's home was deemed illegal by New Zealand's High Court:
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.
This reminds me of the raids on Kim Dotcom's house as well, which involved a bogus warrant. Though, in that case, the High Court, after admitting that the warrants were not drafted properly, decided they were "good enough." Either way, those are the only two law enforcement raids in New Zealand, and both came under sketchy circumstances, where the police couldn't be bothered to actually follow the rules. What's going on down there?

Filed Under: journalism, new zealand, nicky hager, privacy, protecting sources, raid, warrants


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous, 6 Jan 2016 @ 1:20am

    It's the same down here as everywhere. When the government is found to be at fault there is no one who is responsible. Who will they punish for doing wrong? The system did wrong, how do you punish the system?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 5:30am

      Re:

      If those were the only two raids in 2014, we are probably looking at an area where the legal restraints haven't been sufficiently defined.

      But this is politics: If you act first and let the legal questions wait, you will violate innocents, while if you ask questions first, you will let guilty people go free. Politicians define instructions on how agressive the implementation should be.

      By "assumption of innocence" you should be protected against these kinds of things. But politically the world has turned towards "safety first", then "assumption of innocence".

      Or in strategy: Since "think of the children", "tough on crime" and "fight terrorism" are so strong paroles, the politicians would rather take responsibility for too aggressive enforcement than giving political opponents ammunition for using them!

      In the end this question is also a symptom of mainstream media being biased - understandably so - towards bigger headlines and less towards a more balanced coverage. An example is the coverage of a crime: It starts with someone getting arrested, which is heavily covered in the press, then a long time of only huge court cases making media stories as they happen and ultimately the ruling is covered generally. All mitigating factors are removed and since many do not differ betweeen being arrested and being sentenced, most cases will look like either an evil getting punished or an evil escaping justice. Mainstream journalism today are horrible at covering crime reporting in a balanced way or with deep and diverse enough angles. Same generally goes for geopolitical coverage where it often gets into "us versus them" instead of more analysis of what is dividing them and what the sides are generally acting against/for.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 6:55am

      Re:

      how do you punish the system?

      I believe the French used a guillotine at one point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        They did. That period of time went down in history under the name "the Reign of Terror." It's worth noting that this name didn't come about as an accusation of a political opponent of the reigning terrorists, nor was it coined by a later historian looking back upon those days with a critical eye. No, it was actually explicitly (and enthusiastically) described as such by Maximilien Robespierre, the guy in charge of all the terror and reigning.

        I really hope no one today is seriously looking to those times as inspiration.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 10:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I really hope no one today is seriously looking to those times as inspiration.

          I propose a pilot project. Once we've seen a few from Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros., and the Fed go through the process, we can evaluate the result. Until then, I'll just sit here waiting, wishing I had some cake.

          I am not going to soon forget what those bastards pulled. I do want to see heads roll.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 11:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Here's my plan for what I will do with Wall Street when I am president:

            Break up huge financial institutions in the first year of my administration. Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a “Too Big to Fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks, and insurance companies whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk to the U.S. economy without a taxpayer bailout. Within one year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy.

            ...

            End too-big-to-jail. We live in a country today that has an economy that is rigged, a campaign finance system which is corrupt, and a criminal justice system which often does not dispense justice. The average American sees kids being arrested and sometimes even jailed for possessing marijuana. But when it comes to Wall Street executives — some of the most wealthy and powerful people in this country whose illegal behavior hurt millions of Americans — somehow nothing happens to them. No jail time. No police record. No justice.

            Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. That will change under my administration. “Equal Justice Under Law” will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.

            -- Bernie Sanders

            At the very least, it sounds like a better plan than sharpening up the ol' French National Razors.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              GEMont (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 7:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Slight technical alteration to improve reality...

              "Here's my plan for what I will do with Wall Street when I am president:

              Break up huge financial institutions in the first year of my administration.
              "

              Breaking news:

              President Mason Wheeler was killed today; only days after his State of the Nation address announcement that he would be fielding legislation to break up all the huge US financial institutions, when his bulletproof limousine was crushed by Boeing 747 flight 215 out of Kansas, that literally dropped out of the sky directly on top of the president's car as he and his entourage waited for a street light on 35th avenue, in Boston. There were no survivors.

              Rooters

              ---

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 2:22pm

      Re:

      > How do you punish the system?

      De-fund it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Jan 2016 @ 5:41am

        Re: Re:

        You've just explained why asset forfeiture has become a key element of funding these days. De-funding alone won't stop them, you have to root out the people and the culture.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 2:17am

    Contempt for the law, believing they are above it because its for the greater good that those they decide are criminals don't deserve to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. Take your pick. Big brother knows best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 6:13am

      Re:

      ... only in low court.

      In high court, people are always innocent so they are let go - some of them go to Mexico and order pizza while getting drunk and ogling strippers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 2:50am

    Now the trick will get the courts to do more than just expressing concerns.
    The rights of the citizens are only as good as the penalties imposed when they are trampled, far to often the penalty seems to be a tsk tsk tsk don't do it again rather than an actual punishment in line with the severity of the rights trampled.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 6:22am

      Re:

      I am sure that if anyone gets "punished" it will be along the lines of retiring with a full pension while holding down another government job in the next department.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jan 2016 @ 8:02am

    Two words: Puppet Police

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 6 Jan 2016 @ 10:57am

    Genuflection

    What's going on down there?

    The New Zealand government as a junior member of the Five Eyes global surveillance program overseen/funded by the US and British governments must genuflect upon command or lose the "privilege" of participating in the program.

    From Wikipedia:

    Five Eyes

    In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web. The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a "supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn't answer to the known laws of its own countries".[6] Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been spying on one another's citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.[7][8][9][10]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 7:11pm

      Re: Genuflection

      :)

      Order of the Realm:
      Hierarchy of The English Speaking White Guys Club

      Great Britain --------------- Director
      United States of America - Operations
      Canada ---------------------- Technology
      Australia -------------------- Ways and Means
      New Zealand ---------------- Wet-work

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Jan 2016 @ 5:43am

        Re: Re: Genuflection

        LOL! When America extradites its citizens to the UK as easily as we do ours, I'll agree with you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Jan 2016 @ 5:43am

        Re: Re: Genuflection

        LOL! When America extradites its citizens to the UK as easily as we do ours, I'll agree with you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.