Ua decision that the judge, quoted in the Australian press, found unfair to the accused, lawyer Bernard Collaery, and this therefore justifies postponing the start of the hearing of the appeal against the government’s attempt to keep the whole procedure secret.
Bernard Collaery, also a lawyer, and a former Australian intelligence officer, known as ‘Witness K’, are currently be judged by Canberra no âscope of a complaint against illegal Australian wiretapping in East Timor.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Collaery responds to allegations that he illegally shared protected information about the spy operation which Canberra carried out at the Government Palace in Dili, under the guise of a so-called cooperation program, to gain an advantage in the negotiations over oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.
The case, which is shrouded in secrecy under the National Security Act, is before the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in Canberra.
Collaery, who is considered in Timor-Leste as a whistleblower heroic, appealed the decision to keep aspects of the case due to national security laws – a ruling requested by Attorney General Christian Porter.
Bret Walker, one of Australia’s most respected lawyers – who was the first independent observer of the sector security in Australia – had offered his services bono‘ a Collaery.
According to the National Security Information Act (NSI in its acronym in English), the lawyers of Collaery they had to ask the government to allow Walker to view and process confidential documents relevant to the case.
Lawyers for the Australian Attorney General took almost a month to respond and on 22 Janeiro indicated that they are still “considering” the issue and wish to limit sensitive information to “participants” active and necessary in the process “.
“Relevant Commonwealth officials have considered his request to add Bret Walker” to the case, the attorney general’s office wrote, “he said in the response, as quoted by Australian press.
“A guiding principle in these considerations is to ensure that access to highly sensitive national security information disclosed in this process is limited to participants.” active and necessary in the process, ”it is always considered.
Justice John Burns of the Court of Appeal in Canberra, questioned the government’s approach to the case and, in a decision released today, ruled that the attorney general has no role to play in determining whether or not it is necessary that Collaery hire a new lawyer.
This communication of 22 Janeiro, Burns said, “makes a troubling suggestion that those who represent and advise the Attorney General consider his assessment of the need for the defendant to resort to Bret Walker to be somehow relevant.”
“This is clearly not the case,” said Burns, considering that the decision whether or not to hire new lawyers depends entirely on Collaery.
“The power to refuse to include an accused appointed lawyer should not be exercised to gain medico-legal advantage,” Burns said.
The judge said it was “unfair” that the government took so long to respond, noting that the attorney general’s office only gave Walker access to the documents two weeks before the hearing. case.
Reason why the request for Collaery to override the expected start date of the call.
This is a complaint from “ Witness K ”, who released a wiretap system set up by the Australian Secret Service at government offices in East Timor in Dili.
The wiretaps were installed in 2004 by a team led by “Witness K” during the office reconstruction work, proposed as humanitarian cooperation by Australia, which thus obtained information for the negotiations with Timor-Leste on the resources of the Timor Sea.
Collaery is one of the Australian names most associated with Timor-Leste having for decades first supported resistance to the occupation Indonesia and, since the restoration of independence in 2002, the country’s authorities.
Or case of Collaery and “Witness K” raised several criticisms from the Australian authorities.