The Albanese authorities has acted quickly to abandon the prosecution of Bernard Collaery, who was charged in relation to the leaking of particulars about Australia’s alleged spying in Timor-Leste.
Lawyer-Regular Mark Dreyfus said that in taking this alternative “I’ve had cautious regard to our nationwide security curiosity and the precise administration of justice.
“It is my view that the prosecution of Mr Collaery ought to complete”.
He said the “option to discontinue the prosecution was educated by the federal authorities’s dedication to defending Australia’s nationwide curiosity, along with our nationwide security and Australia’s relationships with our shut neighbors.”
Collaery, 77, is a former ACT attorney-general.
He was the lawyer of the whistleblower known as Witness Okay, a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer.
Witness Okay obtained a suspended sentence in 2021 after pleading accountable to conspiring with Collaery to reveal particulars in regards to the alleged spying.
Collaery was because of face trial in October on charges alleging breaches of the Intelligence Suppliers Act.
The alleged Australian authorities spying was on the time of 2004 negotiations between the two nations over oil and gasoline reserves throughout the Timor Sea. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service – Australia’s abroad spy service – allegedly had listening devices in East Timor’s cabinet room in Dili.
Dreyfus knowledgeable a info conference on Thursday this was “an distinctive case. Governments ought to defend secrets and techniques and methods and our authorities stays steadfast in our dedication to keep up Australians safe by holding secrets and techniques and methods out of the mistaken palms.
“The long-standing comply with of presidency has been to neither affirm nor deny claims made about intelligence points and I am going to strictly adhere to that comply with.”
He said prosecutions involved “a balancing of pursuits. The stability of pursuits can change over time and that’s such a case.
“The consent of a former attorney-general was required to start the prosecution of Mr Collaery. Having had regard to our nationwide security, our nationwide curiosity and the administration of justice, at the moment I’ve determined that the prosecution ought to complete.”
The proceedings in opposition to Collaery have been surrounded by secrecy, with the earlier authorities arguing they have to be heard largely in personal.
Collaery’s residence and office had been raided in 2013.
On the time he was representing East Timor in The Hague in its movement in opposition to Australia.
Unbiased Andrew Wilkie, welcoming Dreyfus’s movement, said: “The reality that Mr Collaery was being prosecuted throughout the first place was a grave injustice and an outrageous assault on the approved profession, considerably considering he was merely a lawyer doing his job.
“The Australian authorities is the precise villain on this case, having made the appalling option to spy on East Timor which is no doubt one of many poorest nations in south-east Asia.
“Whereas someone must be answering to a courtroom, it undoubtedly should certainly not have been the ASIS whistle-blower and his lawyer.”
Crossbencher Rebekha Sharkie said: “Since I stood on the steps of the Canberra Magistrates Courtroom docket in September 2018, I have been calling for the prosecution of Bernard Collaery to be abandoned.”
She said the selection “to pursue this politically-motivated prosecution is a humiliation to the rule of laws in Australia”.
“At no stage all through this wretched affair has there been a clear and persuasive argument for why pursuing this case is throughout the public curiosity.”