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Nicky Hager opens new case against police

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, April 6th, 2016 - 31 comments
Categories: accountability, crime, law, police - Tags: ,

I’m sure Hager’s team won’t mind us reproducing this press release in full. It sounds like the Police have a lot of questions to answer.


Nicky Hager files further proceedings against the Police

Nicky Hager has filed further proceedings in the High Court against the New Zealand Police.

On 29 February 2016, the Police released further documents to Mr Hager under a Privacy Act request that he had made back in 2014. The newly released documents reveal that the Police obtained Mr Hager’s travel information from airlines. The Police wanted to know who Mr Hager was travelling with, where he was travelling, when he was travelling, who was funding the travel, and whether Mr Hager was funding anyone else’s travel. The purpose was to try to identify Mr Hager’s confidential informants. All of this was done without Mr Hager’s knowledge.

To get this information, the Police applied for and received production orders using applications essentially the same as the one used to obtain a warrant to raid Mr Hager’s home. That warrant has been found by the Court to have been “fundamentally unlawful”. That was because the Police failed to inform the judge issuing the warrant of the potential impact of the warrant on journalistic source protection.

Mr Hager is asking the Court to hear this new claim together with the second stage of the proceedings already before the Court. Those proceedings are still to resolve issues relating to the Police accessing his bank information and a determination of damages for the Police’s unlawful raid on his house.

Mr Hager’s barrister, Felix Geiringer, said, “What the Police have done with Mr Hager’s travel information has all of the same problems that existed with the raid on his home. The Police were seeking to bypass Mr Hager’s rights to protect his sources by obtaining Mr Hager’s private information from third parties. But they did not tell the people issuing the production orders that that was what they were doing.”

“What the Police were trying to do here could do enormous damage to the ability of the New Zealand public to receive information. Journalists need to be able to travel to meet sources, they need to talk to some sources on the phone, to exchange emails with them. If the Police can do what they were trying to do here then it will be very difficult for journalists in this country to promise to keep sources confidential. The public’s source of information on such things as public corruption could dry up” said Mr Geiringer.

The Police only released the documents after receiving a preliminary view from the Privacy Commissioner on a complaint made by Mr Hager. The Police have also admitted that there are yet further documents that have not been disclosed.

Mr Geiringer added, “In some ways what the Police did in this case was worse than the raid on Mr Hager’s home. They tried to obtain the information in secret so that Mr Hager couldn’t claim privilege over it. Shortly after the raid on his home, Mr Hager’s lawyers sent a letter to the Police. In that letter they told the Police the efforts to obtain Mr Hager’s information were unlawful and that Mr Hager’s information held by third parties would also be privileged. But, the Police did not tell that to the people issuing the travel data production orders. Then the Police unlawfully hid the facts of these searches from Mr Hager for well over a year.”


See other coverage including:
Hager accuses police of snooping on travel
Hager adds new claim in action against police
Nicky Hager files another case against police
Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager takes further legal action against police

31 comments on “Nicky Hager opens new case against police ”

  1. Sabine 1

    so very much Eastern Germany, or USSR, or any other of the eastern blocks pre 1989.

    oh well, history, repeating itself.
    But I am sure our dear Leader is comfortable, after all that is the only thing that matters. Innit?

  2. TC 2

    People need to wake up to how much influence this shonky govt has over our police and their willingness to be political tools and F the law.

    No charges against slater after he admits law breaking or action on complaints and now this…….nationals police all right.

    • Nikita 2.1

      Not to mention, the door knocking police on “known activists” before the TPPA protests to check on “their plans.” That made me feel sickened and angry. Oh, and apparently there were police writing down the details of activists at the protest (I think I read it was in Auckland) without asking them. Can anyone add anything else as proof that the police are under strong government influence?

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    Whose orders were the police acting on ?

    • ianmac 3.1

      Had the same response Jenny. Seemed to be an extreme response from Police at odds with many tardy other cases. I bet there is no record in writing of any “instruction” from the Beehive.

  4. saveNZ 4

    Shocking. In a time when the news is being dumbed down and someones break up is now appearing on TV1 news instead of real news, and that most journalists are now glorified ‘news hosts and hostesses’ or PR hounds, it is important to legally protect the few surviving fledglings of investigative journalists still left.

    The judges need to ‘send a message’ to those applying for warrants etc need to tell the truth to the courts and there are actually ‘consequences’ for police if they don’t (not just a rap on the knuckles (what sort of deterrent is that). Lying and misleading by police to the courts (in particular for political purposes) should be punishable by prison. Yep the judges need to show they mean business here and police should not be turning their courts into circuses!

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    Someone should do jailtime for this. No doubt the frothing authoritarian law ‘n’ order set will keep very very quiet about it.

  6. Ad 6

    If Nicky Hagar is that high a risk to New Zealand, it should be the SIS requesting the warrant, not the Police.

    The Police are going to get kicked all around the courtroom on this one, and good job.

    • TC 6.1

      The SIS were probably asked by shonky but he got referred to nationals police….where every tory seems to get a bargain.

  7. adam 7

    I always like reading Mr Geiringers’ statements. Felix has such a nice way of pointing out the ridiculous in and of – what the police have done.

  8. esoteric pineapples 8

    It’s okay to publish press releases in full. When it is an official press release it can be used in its entirety in any publication. Many newspapers run press releases as stories, which I am not so keen on, especially when they put a byline of a journalist at the top.
    If a press release is embagoed you can’t publish it till the date and time specified.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      “If a press release is embagoed you can’t publish it till the date and time specified.”

      You can, but you should anticipate legal consequences if you publish early.

  9. Tarquin 9

    Wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t receive and use stolen property to start with.

    • whateva next? 9.1

      ……and we would still have a government using that site/blogger to run the country and smear anyone that dared to question them, utterly, utterly corrupt.
      No thanks Tarquin

    • weston 9.2

      you must try really hard not to be informed tarquin…

    • framu 9.3

      what would happen if you were up to speed on the relevant law in this case?

    • saveNZ 9.4

      Hager did not ‘steal’ property. The original data was still there I would assume. Someone copied data for ‘public good’ to expose corruption.

      Hager was even more removed as he had nothing to do with the data being copied in the first place!!! That’s what journalists do take leaks and expose them!

      You don’t see other governments and police forces cracking down on the Panama paper journalists do you.

      We have corrupt and dictator like government officials that use the police politically to keep their corruption and morally bankrupt practises out of the public eye.

      And the police should be canned for being part of it and misleading the courts.

      • Tarquin 9.4.1

        The end justifies the means? Regardless of politics or ideology, he has used something he knew was stolen to turn a profit. That alone makes the public needed to know defense look shaky. Then he complains about the police looking more closely at him when he refuses to answer questions. What are they supposed to do? Just give up? Believe me I have no interest in whaleoil and don’t think much of his blog, but Hager runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds.

        • saveNZ 9.4.1.1

          The data was not stolen!!!! The police give up on most other crimes these days especially burglary. Do you realise if someone breaks into your house, is found with the stolen goods but will not confess the police do not prosecute them for burglary but ‘possibly’ for receiving. Police will not prosecute for burglary in this country. It’s ridiculous. (Maybe too many burglaries and I see their point – what’s the point putting a kid or homeless person or person addicted to drugs in jail?)

          And even more ridiculous doing some sort of massive operation on Hager taking huge police resources for political purposes. Hager clearly did not steal anything and in addition the original hacker did not steal it either. The original data is still there. Not stolen. Copied for public good. The original copier clearly did not profit from it.

          Hager’s main use was as a journalist to tell the story. Not to profit. Feel you have a very bizarre idea of the law and what is fair to go with some outlandish scenario and the police have already lost the case.

          John Key and his ilk are probably just fearful all their dirty secrets will be revealed and went on a witch hunt for the hacker. Even the rich and powerful should not be above the law, and use law enforcement to break the law.

          • saveNZ 9.4.1.1.1

            In fact the only complaint could be for privacy under these circumstances. But since it involved wrongdoing on behalf of the leaks it should be going the other way.

            The police should be investigating the revelations from dirty politics and corruption and political engineering charges should be bought.

          • Smilin 9.4.1.1.2

            The trouble with theft is that it is invasion of your home your person or business and it costs big time for the victims, and from the outset of a charge you are looking at ten years max jail for the perpetrator and its on their record forever.
            So getting convictions is hard work and costly so its no wonder the police are on a limit as to how they deal with this, which of course is corrupt and a deliberate policy by the govt hidden under some larger piece of priority allocation mystically designed to mean fa when brought to the public’s attention
            Like Ruatoki for example and now Dirty Politics
            Really there is enough in there for there to be serious legal implications of for the government’s right to be the government as all that that was in the book points directly to a campaign to illegally affect the rights of other persons running opposition parties to have a fair and just election process.
            So I suppose the police going after Nicky like a pack of pitbulls is the point about just what was at stake here for the government and yet it seems to have all just disappeared like Brigadoon maybe to surface again on the anniversary of the release date of Dirty Politics or now with the Panama Papers the government maybe the architect of its own demise

        • framu 9.4.1.2

          “The end justifies the means?”

          hagars a journalist – the law allows him to use such material – end of story

          and the police publicly stated they werent investigating him as a suspect for any crime whatsoever

  10. linda 10

    It just gets worse and worse its real gestapo. Type stuff Political prisoner’s 3rd world actions its not what. We expect from first world country or po lice force what get me. Is what. Do the police hope gain by acting as political hitmen

  11. Smilin 11

    Great when we are allied to The Land Of The Free really puts faith in the western system of democracy der not being totalitarian in anyway shape or form you know the kind of bs cover up you get from Key and co supplied by their CT interview sheet
    And there is nothing to support Nicky except those who volunteer to in all this.
    Imagine in history class at any school in NZ having Dirty Politics held up as the major reference when John Keys governance of this country is a subject in NCEA level one, you think .All the books would would probably get confiscated or something equally stupid or the subject itself written in the same bias as Maori history has been up until the times of Belish and King
    Talk about the cultural revolution and all its evils in China ,its got nothing on this Key bastard

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