An elated Nicky Hager has spoken of his joy after police destroyed cloned data seized in the 2014 raid of his home.
Clutching a smashed two terabyte hard drive outside court, the investigative journalist and author of Dirty Politics told media it was a "huge relief" to retrieve computers, documents, cell phones and memory sticks, which had been held under seal at the High Court.
He described the "surreal" scene in which police destroyed the drive.
"We went down into the basement of the High Court building into this little narrow room without lights on," Hager told ONE News.
"The police held torches around while the detective, who was in charge of removing stuff from my house, destroyed the materials which they had copied.
"The detective took an orange-handled hammer and he hit this hard drive 213 times. Then he took out bolt cutters and he cut holes in it."
The media was not permitted to watch or film the process.
"I felt emotional about it but I felt like I was watching history going on because what we saw down there, with each blow of that hammer was hitting home the fact that because of this court case there are better legal protections for the media."
In December last year, the High Court ruled the raid on Mr Hager's home was illegal.
Police were hunting for the identity of the hacker who supplied information for Mr Hager's Dirty Politics book.
The book was heavily reliant on material hacked from the computer of Cameron Slater.
Mr Hager obtained that material from a person whom he promised confidentiality.
His lawyer Steven Price said the case sent a strong message to police.
"When the police do a raid like this, it's not just the source that they are looking for. It’s all of the other sources of that journalist, and behind that all the other journalists who have sources and material that they keep in their homes.
"Be very, very, very careful before you conduct searches of journalists’ houses because there are different and more fundamental interests at stake."