Anthony Albanese’s government DROPS major case against lawyer accused of leaking details of a secret alleged spy operation
The Australian government has dropped a case against lawyer Bernard Collaery four years after he was charged with leaking secrets of an alleged spy operation in East Timor.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus ordered the Commonwealth to drop the charges against Mr Collaery which prosecutors had said were aimed to protect Australia’s national interest including relationships with close neighbours.
In a media conference in Sydney on Thursday, Mr Dreyfus described the Collaery case as ‘exceptional’.
‘In taking this decision I have had careful regard to our national security, our national interest and the proper administration of justice,’ Mr Dreyfus said.
Mr Collaery was charged with leaking classified information relating to an alleged bugging operation of the East Timor prime minister’s office by Australian officials in 2004.
The former ACT attorney-general was facing the prospect of jail and his trial date had finally been set for October 24 in the ACT Supreme Court after four years of delay.
Mr Dreyfus said the decision to drop the charges against Mr Collaery was not not a move away from the longstanding practice of protecting government secrets.
‘Governments must protect secrets, and this government remains steadfast in our commitment to keep Australians safe by keeping secrets out of the wrong hands,’ Mr Dreyfus said.
‘All prosecutions involve a balancing of interests. The balance of interests can change over time. This is such a case.’
more to come.