The West

AFP raids  an abuse of powers
AFP raids an 'abuse of powers'

Australian Federal Police made serious errors in raiding Seven West Media over a proposed tell-all interview with Schapelle Corby.

That's the conclusion of a senate inquiry into AFP raids on Seven's offices in Sydney in February, following speculation it was planning to pay Corby up to $2 million for an exclusive interview.

It is not illegal for a media company to pay for a story, and while Seven disputed that figure it never denied it was seeking a deal with the convicted drug smuggler who had just been released from jail in Bali after nine years.

But proceeds of crime legislation says people convicted of a crime should not benefit from their notoriety, including through what's termed literary proceeds.

In this case, the AFP called on Seven West to produce documents relating to their negotiations.

Believing Seven had not been sufficiently forthcoming, AFP obtained search warrants and 30 officers, wearing sidearms, raided five offices.

The AFP later admitted it used the wrong type of warrants.

The senate committee report released on Thursday said there were serious errors and that the raids caused unnecessary damage to Seven's reputation.

Committee member Nick Xenophon went further, accusing the AFP of abusing and misusing its powers and wasting taxpayer funds.

The Independent senator said the “fiasco” would cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

He said the AFP made it clear they don't have proper protocols in place for dealing with literary proceeds matters and the Act should be amended to prevent misuse.

Prospects of an exclusive media interview with Corby, convicted of importing marijuana in 2005, evaporated when Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin warned her parole would be revoked and she would go back to jail if she proceeded.


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