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Press Freedom

Police Pay Up, Apologise to Journalist Nicky Hager for Raiding his Home

The investigative journalist says it sends a "vital message" about source protection

by Zoe Madden-Smith
12 June 2018, 4:36am

Image: Supplied

Police have publicly apologised to journalist and Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager for violating his rights during an “unlawful” raid of his home in 2014, and paid him a large settlement.

Hager’s Wellington home was raided for 10 hours by police searching for information on ‘Rawshark’, an anonymous source who leaked hacked emails which provided the basis of the controversial book.

In a statement released earlier today, police apologised for raiding Hager’s home without reasonable grounds, breaching his journalistic privilege to protect sources and unlawfully obtaining his private information, including 10 months of personal bank transactions.

“This sends a vital message that people can share important information with journalists with confidence that their identities will be protected. The Police have apologised for threatening that confidentiality and trust,” said Hager.

READ MORE: Nicky Hager on War Crimes, Owning Your Mistakes and the Aftermath of 'Hit & Run'

In 2015, the High Court ruled that the warrant that was used for the raid was “fundamentally unlawful” and Hager was not "a suspect of any offending". But it has taken three and a half years for police to apologise and pay a settlement that will see Hager receive substantial damages and his legal costs.

Hager has implied the settlement is a large one. In a statement, he notes: “Under the agreement, I am not allowed to name the figure. However, it gives the strongest possible indication that Police accept the harm they caused and are much less likely to treat a journalist this way again. The money will help support important work in years to come.”

The full text of the apology is here. It concludes by noting police “apologise unreservedly for these breaches of his rights”.

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