Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has taken police to court, claiming their raid on his house was illegal.
Police executed a search of his home after Mr Hager published the book Dirty Politics during last year’s election campaign.
In the High Court in Wellington today, Mr Hager’s lawyer Julian Miles QC claimed both the search and the search warrant were illegal.
He claims police looked at and shared information that was privileged.
“They not only came across that information, they then photographed it, emailed it, sent it back to HQ.”
Dirty Politics was based on the private correspondence of controversial blogger Cameron Slater who runs the Whale Oil website.
The information was given to Mr Hager by an anonymous hacker known only as Rawshark.
Mr Miles claimed “the sole purpose” of the police raid was to discover “the identity of the… hacker.”
He claims police were well aware that as a journalist Mr Hager had a duty to protect his source’s identity, and had already sent all documents back to Rawshark.
Mr Miles says the raid will have discouraged would-be whistle-blowers from contacting journalists.
“That will have a chilling effect on future informants for obvious reasons.”
He said whistle-blowers are at risk if their identities are revealed.
“What tends to happen to whistle-blowers is they get fired, they get prosecuted, they get shunned, their families, their home lives get wrecked.”