Judge Declines To Make Privacy Call On Teapot Tapes

Article – Scoop News

In a High Court released today, Justice Winkelmann has declined cameraman Bradley Ambrose’s application for a ruling on the ‘cup of tea’ between John Banks and John Key – leaving whether the conversation was “public” or “private” a matter for any …


Judge Declines To Make Privacy Call On Teapot Tapes

In a High Court judgment released today (details below), Justice Winkelmann has declined cameraman Bradley Ambrose’s application for a ruling on the ‘cup of tea’ between John Banks and John Key – leaving whether the conversation was “public” or “private” a matter for any trial that may or may not arise.

The police are investigating Ambrose’s recording of the conversation as a possible interception of a private communication.

The question of privacy is not the only matter which determines whether the recording was legal, and that is nto the only factor in the legality of publish the material.

The Herald reports that the police executed search warrants this afternoon against the Herald on Sunday and TVNZ for evidence relating to the event. Radio New Zealand has also been contacted and other media organisations have previously been asked for information.

RNZ “has contacted the police to tell them it’s taking legal advice on the court decision and will get back to them.”

Update 24/11/113 News: Police execute warrant at TV3

Radio NZ ‘Checkpoint’ audio 23/11/11 – “Tea tapes” unlikely to be made public before the election:

Cameraman’s lawyer responds to court’s ruling on tape:
Act’s Epsom candidate reacts to tea tape ruling:
More from RNZ’s Parliamentary chief reporter:
From the Judgment:

“Having considered the evidentiary material placed before me I have decided that I should… decline to make a declaration. I am not satisfied that I have adequate evidence to enable me to properly determine whether this conversation was a “private communication” for the purposes of s216B, or that I should in the circumstances.”

“I make it clear that I have not reached any view on whether this was a private communication.”

“Because of the timing of this hearing I would add to the considerations identified… the risk that such a declaration will have an inhibiting effect on an on-going police investigation, and eventually upon the exercise o the prosecutorial discretion, (should the matter proceed that far)…”

“The plaintiff’s application, for a declaration that the discussion between the Prime Minister, the hon. John Key, and the Act Party candidate for Epsom, John Banks, at the Urban Cafe on 11 November 2011 was not a “private conversation” as defined in s216A of the Crimes Act 1961, is declined.”

Full Judgment (pdf): Ambrose v AG

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