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Hager gets computer back after cops opt not to appeal over 'fundamentally unlawful' raid

Nicky Hager is finally entitled to the return of his belongings which have been held by the courts for over a year.

The investigative journalist, who wrote the controversial book Dirty Politics, is hoping to receive his computer equipment and documents from the Auckland High Court by next week, after police agreed not to appeal a recent ruling.

Mr Hager was told yesterday that police had accepted a judge's ruling and would not pursue the case any further.

In December, the High Court ruled that a police raid on Mr Hager's home was "fundamentally unlawful."

Justice Denis Clifford ruled against the way police went about obtaining the warrant used to search Hager's home.

They were hunting for the identity of the hacker who supplied information for Mr Hager's Dirty Politics book.

Today, Mr Hager said he is excited about the return of his belongings.

"Having my work materials and machines kept from me for over a year has been a considerable inconvenience. I will be relieved to have them back," he said in a statement.

Background

Mr Hager wrote Dirty Politics relying, to a significant degree, on material hacked from the computer of blogger Cameron Slater.

Mr Hager obtained that material from a person who he promised confidentiality.

Mr Hager stated publicly on several occasions that he knew who his source was, but he wouldn't disclose his identity.

After the publication of Dirty Politics, Mr Slater complained to the police about the unlawful access to his computer, which had generated the material Mr Hager used.

Cameron Slater and Nicky Hager Source: 1 NEWS

In September 2014, as part of their investigation of Mr Slater's complaint, the police obtained a warrant to search Mr Hager's home.

They executed that warrant on October 2.

During that search, Mr Hager raised a claim of privilege, based on section 68 of the Evidence Act 2006.

Section 68 makes journalists not "compellable" in civil or criminal proceedings to answer questions or produce documents that would disclose the identity of a confidential source.

The police seized and sealed, but did not search, Mr Hager's computers and paper files.

They were delivered to the High Court in Auckland, where they remain.

The police then started proceedings to have Mr Hager's claim to privilege determined by the High Court.

The judge determined that the warrant was fundamentally unlawful.

"It follows from this fundamental failure to disclose relevant information that the search was also unlawful," the judge said.

A High Court judge ruled that police unlawfully raided the journalist’s home.
Source: 1 NEWS