IPCA to investigate Hager search

  • 24/12/2015
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager (File)
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager (File)

The police watchdog has confirmed it will investigate the Green Party's complaint about the search of journalist Nicky Hager's house.

The party asked the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) to investigate whether police had been negligent or if there was any misconduct in obtaining their warrant for the search.

A High Court judge last week ruled the 10-hour search was "fundamentally unlawful" because police failed to disclose they were seeking a warrant for investigating a journalist.

Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the IPCA responded late on Wednesday.

"It will investigate the complaint about police actions," she said.

"We welcome the IPCA's prompt decision."

When the Greens laid the complaint, Ms Turei said the judge's ruling raised concerns about media freedom and conflicts between surveillance laws and protections granted under other legislation.

"There are many unanswered questions from the Dirty Politics scandal, and why the police made the decision to search Mr Hager's home is one of them," she said.

Ms Turei says it's possible the search was politically motivated because the book attacked the National Party, and this needed investigation.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said claims of political influence were "ridiculous".

The search of Hager's home took place in the aftermath of the release of his book, Dirty Politics, which was based on information taken from WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater's emails and online communications.

The data was given to Hager by an anonymous hacker and the search was part of the ongoing police investigation to identify that person.

Hager sought a judicial review of the way police applied for a search warrant, the subsequent granting of the application, and the way the search was carried out.