AFP apologises for Seven Corby raid
Heavy-handed: AFP officers in the Sunday Night office. Picture: The West Australian

The Australian Federal Police has been forced to apologise for its botched raid on Seven West Media's headquarters this week, admitting it falsely claimed that a company lawyer was a crime suspect.

The AFP said the error, which was made in paperwork used to justify the unprecedented raids on the company, was regrettable.

It said the mistake was "an innocent word-processing error" that did not invalidate the search warrants used when almost 40 officers armed with guns and pepper spray raided Seven West's head office in Sydney and the offices of Sunday Night and Pacific Magazines. The admission ended two days of denials by the AFP that it had justified the raids by falsely claiming that a SevenWest lawyer had failed to hand over information on the company's dealings with drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

Seven West commercial director Bruce McWilliam said yesterday that the AFP's admission meant the search warrants had been wrongfully obtained.

He said the company refused to accept the AFP's apology and would launch legal action in the Federal Court unless the AFP handed over all documents used to justify the raids by 4pm on Monday.

Mr McWilliam also demanded that Attorney-General George Brandis take action over the AFP's "crack-handed" tactics.

"Swearing a false affidavit is a criminal offence," he said. "How powerful is their word processor - it unleashes 34 armed agents?"

Mr Brandis said the dispute was a matter for the AFP but he was concerned "about how this appears to have been handled".

"I will be seeking to establish how this error was apparently made by the AFP," he said.

As criticism of the AFP's actions grew, any hopes of securing an interview deal with Corby were dealt another significant blow yesterday when Indonesia said an interview would breach her parole.

"It would be good if Corby realises her status as a convict," Justice, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said.

"She is a convict whose parole was granted but given under certain conditions, one of which is she does not create restlessness within the society."

He refused to meet Corby's sister Mercedes and brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha, who travelled to Jakarta to plead with him to allow an interview to go ahead.

In a subsequent letter, Mercedes pleaded for the decision to be reversed, saying her sister would agree to limitations being placed on the interview.

"There's nothing Schapelle wants more than to regain her life back," she wrote.

"But it won't happen until an interview is conducted. The media wants to hear Schapelle's voice and she will be haunted until they get it."

The West Australian

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