Lawyers welcome decision to drop Collaery prosecution

ALA

The decision to discontinue the prosecution of former ACT Attorney-General Bernard Collaery is very welcome, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“As we have said from the day Mr Collaery was first charged, this case has never been just or fair,” said Ms Noor Blumer, spokesperson for the ALA. “There was no public interest in the case proceeding and we welcome the government’s decision to drop the charges. The new Attorney-General has done the right thing and we congratulate him.

“It is very disturbing that these charges ever proceeded at all. In a society which subscribes to the rule of law, the Collaery and Witness K prosecution sent a message that those who seek to uncover illegality in government agencies will find themselves facing a jail term.

“Lawyers must be able to defend their clients in accordance with their professional standards without fear of state prosecution.

“Many lawyers around Australia, acting in the best interests of their clients and justice, make available materials that may embarrass governments or expose wrongdoing. It is right and proper that they continue to do so when circumstances require.

“Transparency and accountability must always underpin our national security policy. The default position should always be transparency – only where there is a demonstrable need for concealment on national security grounds should secrecy be allowed.”

Mr Collaery is a member of the ALA. In 2018 the ALA awarded Mr Collaery its national Civil Justice Award for his body of work including his service to Timor-Leste.

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