Police using “sealed” Hager documents?

Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, July 7th, 2015 - 48 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, law, police - Tags: , , ,

From Stuff yesterday:

Police undertaking to Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager allegedly broken

Police broke their undertaking not to use information seized from the home of Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager, the investigative journalist’s lawyer claims.

Hager wants the High Court to review the police decision to get a search warrant and conduct the search. He says his information should not have been seized because it was covered by journalistic privilege.

In the leadup to a hearing of Hager’s claim, his lawyers have continued to ask for copies of relevant police documents. Some of the documents have been shown to Hager in an edited form. One that was first released in edited form was later shown in its entirety.

Hager’s lawyer, Felix Geiringer, says the unedited version indicates police have broken the undertaking to seal Hager’s information and not use any of it pending a decision in the case. It is alleged an officer involved in the search read a document and instructed another officer to make inquiries about a person whose name appeared in the document.

If the allegations are true this is a major breach of trust by the police. As I/S puts it at No Right Turn:

This is significant. The court case is over whether the information could have been seized at all, or whether it was covered by journalistic privilege. By breaking their undertaking, the police deliberately sought to make the court’s decision moot and to benefit regardless of whether their search was ruled lawful or not. It is a deliberate attempt to subvert the ruling of the court and a clear sign of bad faith and a lawless attitude among the police – the same sort of approach which saw charges thrown out in Nelson recently. And those responsible for it need to be held to account.

If the police ever publish anything based on this information that makes its way online, I wonder whether it could be an interesting test of the new Harmful Digital Communications Act which states (Principle 7, from the draft Bill) that “A digital communication should not contain a matter that is published in breach of confidence”.

48 comments on “Police using “sealed” Hager documents? ”

  1. Charles 1

    Well there’s the tricky little catch. The HDC Act allows the Police to decide, in conjunction with courts, what is likely to cause harm.

    The courts may or may not use a reasonable level of prejudice in deciding what factors to consider during an application… they can pretty much decide by scrying chicken guts if they like. Personally, I think that although the Police have clearly pre-empted any consultation with courts on this case, (because despite their continuing trend towards doing what they’re told [legally or informally], “the courts” do know if the system is being undermined and don’t like it, no sir, not one bit.) who’s going to pull the Police up on it when they are half the people influencing whose application is heard by courts? Touché, Judith, touché!

    You could also argue that if the information went, through, oh I don’t know, The NZ Herald, that bastion of Public Interest then all knowledge of what causes harm through digital communication dissolves like a fart on the breeze. The supreme irony of all the HDC stuff is the considered criminal acts, not just the callous ignorant stupidity, could’ve been caught anyway with existing legislation. You aren’t allowed to go around actively aggravating people. Police coruption isn’t just a potentail case of harrassment.

    No, the HDC Act isn’t for normal people protecting themselves. It’s for governments, and their dogs, with pesky journalist/blogger/victim problems.

    • Sable 1.1

      +1 You are right on the money. Laws to protect the rich and powerful from the “rabble”. Welcome to the banana republic of New Zealand. Soon to be a subsidiary of the USA incorporated.

    • Tracey 1.2

      and who was the presenter of that Act to Parliament? And who wrote a recent column saying if the cops think they know who did a crime they should be able to do anything to get them?

  2. Tracey 2

    A cynical person might think that Collins column about police being supreme arbiters int he pursuit of who they consider criminals might have had a dual purpose…

    • John Shears 2.1

      And in the NZH today Madame C says about her crime stats
      and Feeley using champagne which was not his .

      It was my shining glory, so the last thing we needed was leaks out of the Serious Fraud Office talking about champagne being used that wasn’t actually owned by the person who was using it. It was a disaster.”

      Crime stats her shining glory , really?????

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        I know!, it speaks volumes about her and her orde rof priorities! Remember when the Papakura crime stats were her shining glory but had been fudged?

  3. Chooky 3

    so nothing is sacrosanct….. your house , your home, your journalistic sealed sources…all can be invaded by the police and are above the law of New Zealand ( under this sleazy government of jonkey nactional)

    … one might ask what the police can do next?…invade your person?….can they also invade/violate/rape your personal space and body with impunity now?

    ( jonkey ponytail affair springs to mind)

    ….does this mean that New Zealand (under jonkey nactional) is now a police state?

    • Tracey 3.1

      some can… remember rickards (sex ont he bonnet of a police car), schollum etc al

  4. ianmac 4

    “Some of the documents have been shown to Hager in an edited form.”
    This seems to be a cover-up as demonstrated by the Government OIA redacted documents. Done nothing wrong? Nothing to Hide.

  5. Anne 5

    Do Judith Collins, Cameron Slater, Graham Carrick, Kathy Odgers and others of their ilk not appreciate they are also criminals? They plot to set people up which is against the law. They harass and intimidate which is against the law. They spread slander which is against the law. And when push comes to shove they carry out (or approve of) the unlawful hacking of private computers.

    Add the fact that certain stalwarts on the Right (not as far as I know the individuals I listed above) have been implicated in historical ‘breaking and entering of property’ with a view to gathering info. that could be used against their political opponents. These incidents were reported to the police at the time but surprise, surprise… not only did nothing happen but as far as I know the likely culprits were never investigated or interviewed. You see, they had lots of money and/or power and knew people in high places. And therein lies the difference. If you are a big wig or are known to be associated with big wigs, then you can break the law with relative impunity. But the Nicky Hagers of this world don’t have such a status so they are ripe for police targeting even though they have broken no law.

    • Tracey 5.1

      Apparently you have to be caught to be consider a law-breaker… oh and tried, otherwise you are just clever.

      Alex Swney, former ACT Party candidate, Auckland mayorlty candidate and CEO of Heart of the City recently said he stole from his employer and defrauded revenue because he didn’t think he was being paid enough for what he was doing…

      Rather than leave, he did what anyone would do, right? Go to their employer and explain why they deserved a pay rise and if they refused, leave and work somewhere where your talents would be better remunerated? Nope, he decided to just take what he thought he was owed…

      One rule for the ACT proponents and one for the poor…

    • Jones 5.2

      QFT… and when a big wig or associate goes down it’s usually because another big wig wanted them gone.

    • To paraphrase Nixon, when the ruling elite does it, that means it is not illegal.

    • Kevin 5.4

      Plotting to set people up, harassing and intimidating is not against the law. Neither is slander. They are all things for which civil remedies are available. And in any case why has no body sued them for defamation? Yes, I know, Tiso is waiting for an opportunity to hit Slater with a defamation suit but he hasn’t yet has he?

      As for your allegations, they’re just that, allegations. Unlike Hager who has admitted to receiving emails that he knew to be stolen and actually used them to make a book, all under the excuse of “public interest”.

      • McFlock 5.4.1

        Intimidation is an offence under the summary offences act.
        And I believe that slater is currently the subject of at least one criminal complaint, as well as having previously violated suppression orders.

        Defamation is expensive and generally pointless to prove, even if it weren’t subject to the many defences that we have in a democracy to protect free speech. Although with the latest bill against online bullying (and hurting people’s feelings) those defences might be out the window.

  6. G C 6

    Nicky Hager embarrasses and exposes secrets of ‘the powers that be’ – so pushback was inevitable. Nicky Hager is certainly an important author for NZ though.

    At this point judgements need to start going in his favour. Legal proceeding need to be wrapped up more expediently. Given the recently past ‘anti-bullying’ legislation, having this Nicky Hager saga in the courts is a terrible look.

    The Hager Feature certainly wont score the National Government any points/supporters – only damage. Move on Government AND Nicky Hager! Focus on your next book!

    • tc 6.1

      The actions against hager are designed so he can’t focus on his living and are likely being driven by the hollowmen who had their little game of DP exposed.

      the police have shown time and again they’ll do the national partys dirty work.

      • G C 6.1.1

        Nicky Hager needs to put bitterness and ill-feeling away – realise he’s in the Criminal Justice System and the best thing to do is Get Out Expediently.

        Having to hold legal concepts, proceedings, meeting, dealings, etc in his mind will diffidently effect his productively and mental health. I hope he knows his talents are as an author and not a ‘precedent setter’.

        • Anne

          Sorry GC but you’re talking rubbish. Have you ever met Nicky Hager? Because if you had, you would know he’s the last person to hold bitterness and ill feelings. However he is on a crusade to do his bit towards stamping out dirty and corrupt political and other types of behaviour in this country. Thank God someone has the courage to do so otherwise we would never find out these things.

          And btw, he’s the most sane person you could ever meet.

          • G C

            I’m sure you right Anne. No I’ve never met him. It wasn’t my intention to imbue him with undesirable character traits, or portray him as unsound of mind. I feel for the guy, if I was in his position – I’d feel under tremendous pressure and certainly that would take its toll.

            It’s unfair to expect him to be a crusader though. I’m not saying he is not. But I am saying he’s an author.

    • Mary 6.2

      “Nicky Hager is certainly an important author for NZ though.”

      Yes agreed, I am impressed he can go up against psychopaths like the National Party, and stand by his convictions, considering Judith Collins would probably break his knee caps or worse. Hager is brave, though left leaning people are much more spirited and have a much more empathetic nature, these qualities keep people focused, and to the cause.

      While right wing journalists like Ian Wishart, have just got dumber and dumber throughout the years, from tackling tax havens to writing about crusty Christianity stories that have been bleated a million times before and then piss poor weak stories about Macsyna King. Obviously there is a clamp down on media and journalism in general and no one is immune, it is just so good the left are staying true.

    • Mary 6.3

      I have a made a valid observation- my post hasn’t come up yet, I’m wondering why?

      “Nicky Hager is certainly an important author for NZ though.”

      Yes agreed, I am impressed he can go up against psychopaths like the National Party, and stand by his convictions, considering Judith Collins would probably break his knee caps or worse. Hager is brave, though left leaning people are much more spirited and have a much more empathetic nature, these qualities keep people focused, and to the cause.

      While right wing journalists like Ian Wishart, have just got dumber and dumber throughout the years, from tackling tax havens to writing about crusty Christianity stories that have been bleated a million times before to piss poor weak stories about Macsyna King. Obviously there is a clamp down on media and journalism in general and no one is immune, it is just so good the left are staying true.

      [lprent: Because all first time comments (ie Name/EMail combinations) must be approved by a moderator. This allows us to vet new commenters to see if they are spambots or people who have been banned from the site or people who just look somewhat crazed and who probably shouldn’t be writing defamation in public.

      Moderators can approve them, approve them with probation (like I just did because something feels quite crazy about your comment), trash, or spam them. After a moderator does an approve (without probation), then your comments get let through automatically.

      I suggest you read the policy because my moderator instincts tell me that you need to. ]

      • Mary 6.3.1

        “something feels quite crazy about your comment”

        I’m Just noticing the difference between Left and Right journalists. That’s all!

        Surely you have noticed the media is getting dumber and dumber?

        It seems ‘you’ have taken offence?

        [lprent: Nope. I am just a deeply suspicious moderator. After watching hundreds of thousands of comments through here, there are patterns of first comments that look suspicious based on subsequent performance. Your one was borderline for the concern troll pattern. ]

  7. Jay 7

    Linking lawbreakers such as sweeney to a political party and then suggesting that there is a political or ideological link to the crime they committed is silly.

    I’m certain I could find a few paedophiles with links to the labour party, does that mean people who support labour are more likely to be paedophiles, or that they committed their crime believing that there was a different set of rules for a labour proponent?

    Is Taito Phillip-Fields offending linked to the party he stood for, or was he just a crook regardless of his political affiliations?

    When you think about it its a pretty silly argument to make, don’t you think? Not least because that finger can be pointed right back at whatever party YOU support.

    [Jay, that’s an appalling accusation. Either substantiate it or withdraw it. TRP]

    • G C 7.1

      Nicky Hager writes and talks about the National Party and Ministers all the time. So I disagree with you on this one Jay.

      Nicky Hager probably has crossed the legal line – if you’re viewing events very litigiously.

      I think you’re being purposely naïve.

      • Anne 7.1.1

        What “legal line” has Nicky Hager crossed? The truth is, after all the claims he has revealed – claims always backed up by indisputable evidence – no person has ever sued him.

        What we have here is a crim. by the name of Cameron Slater who projects his own behaviour on to other people and laid a complaint. It suited the police to take it seriously… and that is the point we are discussing on this post.

        • Anne

          Btw, I’m not trying to be niggly G C. Hager has crossed no legal boundary imo. He was targeted by Slater in an effort to divert the scandal away from himself (Slater) and the police used it for their own ends.

          • G C

            I dear say you’re right again Anne. ‘Niggly’ is good though, the truth diffidently matters. I can tell you’re more informed than myself surrounding these matters. I could have been more circumspect in my wording. 🙂

            • Anne

              You’re doing fine G C. I’ve probably been around a bit longer – being well on the wrong side of 60. 🙂

    • … I could find a few paedophiles with links to the labour party,

      Off you go then, knock yourself out.

    • McFlock 7.3

      What’s the ACT party conviction rate again?

      One or two might be unfortunate, but ACT really do seem to have an appeal for the criminal element.

  8. Jay 8

    [deleted link ]

    [lprent: Astroturfing irrelevant UK documents? WTF. Are you a complete fuckwit? Or just have some severe brain damage.

    Banned 1 month for being a stupid troll. Read the damn policy before you pull your brain out of your pants and start massaging it around here. ]

    • McFlock 8.1

      lol – lprentus ex machina

      • I guess that makes me the voice of reason 😉

        • lprent

          Indeed you are (at least by comparison to my immoderate style).

          I always work on the principle that I’d prefer people not to dick around with things I am responsible for.

          I have found that making their last exit memorable as they gasp indignantly in spam at my high-handed, appalling and obvious disrespect for them tends to make then use their brain a bit more on the next time. Generally they usually come back, and are invariably more careful next time.

          Those who I think benefit from a warning get one. Those who I think will just play games if I warn them just get a rhetorical boot to push the lower brain they have been using up into their higher one where it is more useful.

          There are three basic principles on blogs for people to follow. Don’t attract moderators, always listen to moderators and read their policies, and leave if the dislike of moderators exceeds the wish to participate in the conversations. Our own policies can be summed up by that…

          Abrupt judgement also tends to reduce the level of diversion in the thread rather rapidly as well. If they wanted to just have an argument – that is why we have OpenMike.

          • te reo putake

            Like the three principles, LP. Good advice.

          • Bill

            Lynn, a bit of your ‘common sense’ principle for blogs (and leave if the dislike of moderators exceeds the wish to participate in the conversations) if taken to heart and acted upon in a certain way by anyone, could essentially be held up by any poorly behaved or unreasonable – rogue – moderator as a license issued to ‘hunt down’ any and all commenters they were in some way peeved with… permission granted to enact a bit of a purge as it were – with all the collateral damage that would entail.

            I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what was in your mind when you wrote that, but it’s certainly a possible and entirely logical consequence in any multi-moderator environment.

  9. Jay 9

    [deleted link]

    Is my point made yet?

    [Nope. You’re in a discussion about a kiwi author on a kiwi political website. You also referred to NZers Philip Taito Field and Alex Swny. If you don’t have any evidence that is specific to NZ, best you withdraw the claim immediately. TRP]

    [lprent: I can’t be bothered with idiots acting badly like this. ]

    • Anne 9.1

      Ha ha… Jay digs up crap from the ultra right wing Daily Mail about some people who were associated with the British Labour Party, and infers by way of his original comment it was the NZ Labour Party.

      • dv 9.1.1

        As a matter of interest how is the case going against the prominent northlander who has name suppression Jay?

  10. Jay 10

    You’re all deliberately missing the point. If a former National MP committed a sex offence, did his political views lead to or make him more likely to offend? Of course not.

    My experience of criminals (which is considerable) has taught me that crime cannot be linked to political leanings or affiliations. Doing so is nothing more than base mud-slinging.

    And that is my point as you all know very well.

    [Your next comment needs to be short, to the point and containing the withdrawal of the claim. TRP]

    [lprent: Nope. I am looking at someone who is likely to put this site at risk with unsubstantiated defamatory claims that they cannot back up. Who then ‘justifies’ themselves with completely irrelevant links.

    You will find that I have already banned you for astroturfing irrelevant links on this post. Piss off you stupid idiot. ]

  11. Save NZ 11

    It is doing the police reputation no good to be seizing documents from an investigative journalist while not following up complaints against Slater etc. Clearly politically motivated and like the SIS, the Nats using their power inappropriately to say the least.

  12. keyman 12

    i think the police wanted to know what hager has found out about police corruption.
    well theres no way justice will done while this corrupt lot hold power.

  13. Smilin 13

    “What are their names the people who really run this land and why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand “etc David Crosby early 70’s
    Why we are victims of a police state ruled by a govt of liars and manipulators of our democracy
    The thing we have to fear is fear itself. This is TOTALITARIANISM
    We should grow up and face the fact all that what Dave Lange did to help NZ and world peace has been completely destroyed by honey tongued, silver spoon, squattocracy mongering GOVT whose words mean nothing.
    And this govt is a protection racket for world austerity driven by the aforementioned liars and thieves
    Dont you get tired of the smiling lies from this govt and their covering up of the truth

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