Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus has offered an unreserved apology to Seven West Media for “unnecessary reputational damage” arising from an armed raid of the company’s headquarters in February.
More than 30 armed officers spent 12 hours searching Seven West’s Sydney offices for documents relating to a proceeds of crime investigation into a rumoured interview deal with convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.
The AFP dropped its investigation in March, days after a Federal Court hearing into the raids’ legitimacy, when the AFP was accused of seriously misleading a magistrate, making false allegations of criminal conduct and relying on little more than Google searches to get the raid warrants.
Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes said today he appreciated the “extensive apology” from Mr Negus.
“At Seven, we understand fully that from time to time mistakes are made and this acknowledgement adds to the recognition and respect we have for the 6,000 members of the AFP who dedicate their lives to protecting Australia,” he said.
“No better example of that can be found in the recent Ukraine crisis when not only was the AFP instantly there when needed but totally prepared to put their own lives at risk and to enter a war zone unarmed.”
“These actions typify the reason that we at Seven continue to respect our friends at the AFP.”
In May, a Senate estimates inquiry heard the botched raid cost taxpayers at least $363,000.
The bipartisan Senate committee’s report into the raid said Federal Police should be slapped with new rules for investigating media organisations, and reporters should be given greater protection to keep sensitive materials from police to protect their sources.
Mr Stokes said Seven West looked forward to working with the AFP, and where possible assisting them in their important tasks.
“Underlining that excellent relationship is Border Security, our award-winning hard-edged real life documentary series which continues to go from strength to strength in its twelfth series, highlighting these areas of contemporary relevance for all Australians,” he said.