Collaery Prosecution Dropped

The prosecution of Bernard Collaery was discontinued by the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on 7 July, 2022. Mr Dreyfus stated that the decision was taken with regard to “our national security, our national interest and the proper administration of justice”. The dropping of the prosecution was based on section 71 of the Judiciary Act.

A press conference was held on that same day where Mr Dreyfus stated that no “agreements of undertakings” regarding compensation for Mr Collaery had been made. He also made some comments on the wider question of whistleblowers.

A statement of support was made by His Excellency Kay Rala (Xanana) Gusmão. The lawyers who had acted pro bono for Mr Collaery, Gilbert and Tobin, also issued a statement and reflected on the case. Lao’ Hamutuk in Timor-Leste issued a statement of congratulations at the discontinuance and urged Australia to respect Timor-Leste’s maritime sovereignty.

Sections of the press ran articles. Bernard Keane in Crikey commented on a number of instances of Australian duplicity in regard to Timor-Leste. He also called for the perpetrators of the spying to be called to account. This call was supported by Paul Gregoire of Sydney Criminal Lawyers.  The Guardian via Paul Karp continued its comprehensive coverage of the case.

Christopher Knaus has been the Guardian’s main reporter on this matter for years and voiced the opinion of many that “Witness K and Bernard Collaery are Heroes”. Elizabeth Byrne of the ABC referred to the possibility of Mr Collaery’s lawyers applying for costs. Kieran Pender of the Human Rights Law Centre called for further action on other whistleblowers.  Comment was made in regional papers such as The Echo. Even The Sydney Morning Herald weighed in.

School students call for Witness K and Bernard Collaery’s prosecution to be dropped