View Comments
Heat on AFP over raid bungle
The West Australian AFP officers searching the office of Seven West Media Commercial Director, Bruce McWilliam

The Australian Federal Police will come under fire on two fronts today over its botched raid on Seven West Media's offices in Sydney last week.

The raid sought evidence of a financial deal between Seven West Media, owner of _The West Australian _, and drug smuggler Schapelle Corby for an interview.

The company confirmed talks with the Corby family but insists there was no agreement.

As AFP Commissioner Tony Negus faces a grilling tonight from senators, the company will ask the Federal Court to order police to reveal the legal grounds they used to get a search warrant.

The AFP is red-faced after admitting it falsely claimed a Seven West Media lawyer was a crime suspect in an affidavit submitted to a magistrate.

But the police insist their legal advice is that the bungle did not invalidate the warrant.

The company will file papers today seeking a judicial review into the reasons the AFP gave Magistrate Graeme Curran when applying for the search warrant.

It will argue the AFP's expected claim to confidentiality should be waived and the warrant set aside.

Seven's commercial director Bruce McWilliam said, given the police acknowledged the matter was akin to civil litigation, the AFP should have simply served a production order for documents.

A Senate estimates committee will push Mr Negus tonight on the justification for the raids.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon has labelled the raids "overkill" and other senators are baffled by the AFP's actions.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott also expressed his concern. "My understanding is that the Attorney has issued a polite 'please explain' to the AFP, but the matter itself was an operational policing matter," he said.

On Saturday, AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan apologised for the document error and said Seven had not committed a crime by seeking the interview. The senior officer who made the mistake had been "counselled".

Mr Phelan said the error was from using a "pro forma" document from another case and the reference to a criminal matter should have been omitted.