Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Bernard Collaery case: Australian governments legal bill spirals despite dropped prosecution

Bernard Collaery case: Australian governments legal bill spirals despite dropped prosecution


Bernard Collaery case: Australian governments legal bill spirals despite dropped prosecution

The Australian government is amassing an ever-increasing legal bill in its ongoing pursuit of secrecy in the Bernard Collaery case, spending a further $250,000 since dropping the prosecution in July.

The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, intervened to end the Collaery prosecution in July, a decision widely welcomed by lawyers, human rights advocates and Collaery's supporters.

Despite the end of the case, the government decided it would maintain a push initiated by the Coalition to have parts of the Collaery proceedings suppressed from public view.

The commonwealth is continuing to argue that a key judgment in the case should not be published without redactions, which it says are necessary to protect national security.

The attorney general's department was unable to say exactly how much the push for secrecy had cost taxpayers.

But it said its legal bill for the Collaery and Witness K cases on 7 July, the date on which the Collaery prosecution ended, was $5.148m.

That legal bill had grown by $248,000 in the three months to October, the department said.

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