Laws hamper Tas prison bugging probe

A review into the use of police surveillance devices in Tasmania's prisons has been delayed because existing laws prevent relevant information from being shared.

The probe, to be undertaken by the state's former solicitor-general Michael O'Farrell SC, was called in August after a Supreme Court judgment ruled police had illegally bugged a room at Risdon Prison in 2017.

The devices were left recording for more than two months in a room where sensitive and legally privileged conversations between lawyers and clients occurred.

They were installed as part of a police investigation into Jeffrey Ian Thompson, one-time lawyer of convicted murder Susan Neill-Fraser.

Mr Thompson, who was involved at the time in Neill-Fraser's ultimately unsuccessful appeal against her conviction, was being investigated over suspicions he perverted the course of justice in relation to a potential appeal witness.

He was charged but the case against him was abandoned in August.

Justice Michael Brett, who delivered the Supreme Court judgment, ruled the police recording of Mr Thompson speaking with the potential witness was obtained by police in contravention of Australian law and couldn't be admitted.

Police Minister Felix Ellis on Thursday revealed existing laws were preventing the sharing of information relevant to the review.

He said the state government would seek to remove "outdated" aspects of the police surveillance act to ensure full scrutiny.

Mr Ellis told state parliament the review's expected completion would be pushed back from December to mid-2023 as a result.

Tasmania Police commissioner Donna Adams said the majority of the information needed to be accessed as part of the review was considered "protected" under the laws.

"We have acted to address the issue as a matter of urgency ... to ensure the review is progressed in full at the earliest opportunity," she said in a statement.

In his written judgment, Justice Brett said it appeared police didn't deliberately set out to break the law, but there was an obvious misunderstanding or ignorance of significant risks.