November 7, 2018
Lawyer Bernard Collaery and Witness K are being prosecuted for disclosing that Australia spied on East Timor-Leste
Lawyers for the whistleblower Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery have pushed the ACT magistrates court to make a ruling about national security information in a bid to head off a possible closed court hearing.
After weeks of negotiations, Witness K and Collaery failed to come to a comprehensive agreement with the commonwealth about handling of protected information in the prosecution of the pair for disclosing the fact Australia spied on Timor-Leste.
The director of public prosecutions has given notice the crown’s brief of evidence in the case is expected to disclose national security information. That notice is likely to trigger the attorney general, Christian Porter, to issue a certificate of non-disclosure for information he judges is likely to prejudice national security.
Witness K and Collaery have applied to the ACT magistrates court to hold a hearing “as soon as possible” on national security information, before Porter can issue the certificate which would trigger a closed court hearing on the issue.
On Wednesday counsel for Witness K, Haydn Carmichael, told the court if it held a hearing on national security information the attorney general “ought not feel any concern or need” to issue a non-disclosure certificate.