5 years and finally justice: NZ Police formally apologise & settle for breaching my civil rights

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‘Bomber’ Bradbury gets apology from police after exploit used to access bank records, driving him to the edge

An apology has been made by police to blogger Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury after officers investigating the identity of the hacker Rawshark used a loophole in the Privacy Act to unlawfully access his private information.

It is the third apology and settlement made by police following the 2014 investigation into Rawshark, who was said to have hacked information belonging to former Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater.

Journalist Nicky Hager – who wrote the book Dirty Politics based on Rawshark’s information – also received an apology and settlement from police, as did his daughter, who was targeted simply through living at her father’s house.

After 5 years, the NZ Police have apologised and settled my complaint against their breach of my privacy and civil rights during their deeply flawed case against Nicky Hager.

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The formal apology is as follows.

Once the NZ Police were caught out telling every single bank and lending agency in NZ that I was a computer fraudster and gained access to my bank records without a search warrant or production order, their claim was that they didn’t need to gain a search warrant or production order because they had overwhelming evidence to suspect that I was Rawshark but that they wanted to hold that argument in a secret court using secret evidence. 

My lawyer and I went to the Human Rights Review Tribunal in August and argued that giving Police the powers of medieval feudal lords kinda flew in the face of about 800 years of legal jurisprudence and that allowing them to hold secret trials using secret evidence was so far out of the norm that there was no way this should even be contemplated.

It was important to me and my lawyer that the argument was made to dismantle this attempt to set a precedence of secret trials and secret evidence.

This formal apology, acknowledgment of the harm and settlement of my case is the end product of a very long fight, but we urge the HRRT to continue with a ruling.

I wish to thank my lawyer Graeme Edgeler who is a superhero when it comes to civil rights, if you ever find yourself in a battle with the State, he is the man to call.  I would also like to thank Justice Minister Andrew Little who wrote a very compassionate letter, Matt McCarten for his support, Herald journalist David Fisher who understood the enormity of the abuse of power from the beginning, David Seymour who as my electorate MP wrote a fantastic letter in support of my case, my whanau for putting up with me for the last 3 years and of course Nicky Hager who was the central figure in this delusional case.

While I hope that this unfortunate madness was just grotesque incompetence on behalf of the NZ Police, throughout this case there was always the hint of something darker beneath the surface, that in 2014 all sorts of Government Intelligence Agencies were active and doing all types of things well outside the law. At that time I was deeply involved in MANA, the Internet Party and leading the campaign against mass surveillance. During the HRRT hearing the Crown continuously attempted to use the Ahmed Zaoui case as a defence for secret trials and evidence which is extraordinary because the Zaoui case is widely regarded as one of the worst abuses of State power because it is entirely based on a woeful interpretation of National Security.

While the Crown never said that this was a National Security issue, they certainly attempted to imply it at the hearing in August and even went as far as trying to insert the secret evidence into their initial pre-hearing papers. This stunt was knocked back by the Human Rights Review Tribunal because seeing the secret evidence at a trial to decide whether or not the Police can use secret evidence would be a Kafkaesque absurdity.

Brothers and sisters, the day I am defined as a bloody national security threat is the day our democracy dies laughing.

There is something truly obscene about the way those on the progressive side of politics have our civil rights trampled at the drop of a hat by the security apparatus of NZ. MANA, Greenpeace, Māori Iwi fighting big oil, the Greens, Muslims and investigative Journalists like Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson were all recently abused and/or illegally spied on by the State yet that enormous mass surveillance state couldn’t protect us from an actual white supremacist terrorist who was plotting an atrocity in Christchurch for two years.

Who the hell are we actually safe from here?

I’ve always believed that NZ is a progressive liberal democracy with in built checks and balances to prevent abuses of power, but this 3 year battle has shocked me into realising how few checks and balances actually exist, that the watch dogs are all muzzled by underfunding and only a bloody mindedness to not let the bastards win is your only defence.

I blogged in 2015 that Police could use these powers to damage activists out of spite, I had no idea at the time that I’d inadvertently predicted it by being the example.

While I am deeply pleased that the Police won’t gain a precedence to use secret trials and secret evidence and grateful to those who helped with this battle, when you fight the State it leaves you drained and burnt out.

I’m buggered.

I intend to take some time to spend with my wee daughter at the beach.

Cheers.

Martyn Bradbury

TDB Editor

2019

 

51 COMMENTS

  1. You enjoy your daughter Martyn. I think she’ll be very proud of her Dad for standing up for what’s right. On behalf of us all – thank you.

  2. Well done – and to your legal team too.
    Pleased to see you didn’t agree to being totally gagged as well

  3. Congratulations Martyn. A bright light at last.
    What a terrible thing to have gone through. Good to see the HRRT’s role in getting this outcome. Please take a really good holiday you must really need it

  4. I have seen first hand the depths that some agencies in this country will go to in order to dig dirt on people and they don’t care who gets hurt in the process.
    I have also seen that the man in the street can win against these organizations.
    It may take time and effort, but if you stand up and make a noise, eventually you will get heard – and acknowledged.
    There are a lot of people who don’t know how to stand up and fight back, who don’t feel they have the ability to do so or feel that any attempt would be in vain.
    I encourage everyone to fight if they can – the outcome of Martyn’s case speaks for itself.

  5. I’m still pissed off about the Tuhoe Raids but little things like these restore my opinion of humanity.

    Having said that these guys are unaccountable. When we don’t have proper media scrutiny then the employer or spook or who ever are going to think they can get away with stuff so it’s a constant battle.

    • I’m still pissed about how fat girl slim Paula Bennett was able to give personal beneficiary details to the media by being the bully that she is, however this is a win for our human rights. Well done Martyn, your morality was strong throughout and integrity beyond doubt. You could learn a thing or two ms Bennett( but I doubt it).

  6. Congratulations Martyn Bradbury.
    It’s a courageous thing to take on the state and even more momentous to win. Many of us have stories to tell about historical (that is, 25 or more years ago) behaviour within Public Service entities but we had nowhere to go to seek redress. You and Nicky Hager have done an immeasurable service for future victims of state bullying and misdeeds based on nothing more than malicious hearsay. It never ceases to amaze me that the perpetrators are never punished although I think in your case karma did prevail. 🙂

  7. Greg Kings last interview with Linda Clark on “The Court Report” he expressed very clearly that taking on the state is a mammoth task which will grind you down so you give up, he said their resources are far bigger and are usually willing to fight far longer than you will.Well done Bomber,Greg was a NZ hero and so are you.
    Please heal and keeping on keeping on mate.
    Kia Kaha

    • Martyn good on you for pursuing this, and getting police to account for their actions. Their freedom to choose their targets and create arguments for pushing legal boundaries on their behaviour to the limit, is frightening when viewed objectively on a historical basis. They can do really good things using their discretion, but in the tatters of our land of milk and honey, Godzone, they can get injured, and demeaned by hard-liners, and pass that on in heaps and think that will deal with their, and society’s, problems. Wrong. Greg King RIP. Too many of the good, die young. ken green says it right.

  8. Enjoy your chosen celebration, Martyn, and congratulations to your legal team.

    Although, none of us suffered through the invasions and pressures you did, we did follow your journey through it all and celebrate the end of this stress on your and your family. Thank you for taking the time to share your success with us all.

  9. Hah, another ‘settlement’, they realised they could be up for worse, and swiftly consulted Crown Law and got the cheque book out, yet again, a government and its agencies guilty of endless breaches, transgressions and screw ups.

    If they had not settled it would have set a legal precedent, that many others could have used to get justice. So they kept it out of the courts, yet again.

  10. Congratulations, Bomber. we can only hope this will be a turning point. But the police always seem to think the end justifies the means. In terms of the security services, I think the only true change will come when there is separation between domestic and foreign intelligence again. In most democracies, this is kept separate for very good reason. The last National govt. were amoral. I think the true scope of what went on when they were in power is still to emerge.

  11. Congratulations, Bomber. we can only hope this will be a turning point. But the police always seem to think the end justifies the means. In terms of the security services, I think the only true change will come when there is separation between domestic and foreign intelligence again. In most democracies, this is kept separate for very good reason. The last National govt. were amoral. I think the true scope of what went on when they were in power is still to emerge.

    • Alan – “The last National govt. were amoral. I think the true scope of what went on when they were in power is still to emerge.” Absolutely.

      This is why Martyn’s case is incredibly important – he had to take it, and he won – albeit at a high personal cost – and the why’s and wherefores still not clarified.

      Ditto Peters, which dragged National’s dirty politics down to surreal school yard level, and the cockroaches who caused it are still there too.

  12. I can only echo the comments of others. Well done for standing up for what is right and just. This was a witch hunt from the outset and someone in the police should be held accountable. Ki Kaha.

  13. Our hopeless fourth estate has a lot to answer for. There is so very little accountability anymore.
    I’m glad you stood your ground Martyn, for all our sakes. Have a breather and come back ready for the next fight.

  14. Good on you Martyn. I’m sure that any other day of the week they get away with this sort of thing and murder.
    Congratulations for your tenacity on behalf of all NZ citizens.
    D J S

  15. Congratulations on a good outcome, and much praise to Mr Edgeler and the letter writers and other supporters. And some credit to the Review Tribunal also for navigating through an actual Kafka’s worst nightmare scenario.

    The cops have come up empty handed again re Rawshark! Against expectations you succeeded Martyn, enjoy the moment. History will judge you and Nicky Hager well. I hope Key’s role in all this is exposed in my lifetime.

  16. A notable justifiable victory Martyn.

    A begrudged confession for deviant actions by an instrument of the State?

    The omission of the commissioner to sign the document confirming police acted unlawfully, speaks volumes.

    You have done well.

    Congratulations.

    • “A begrudged confession for deviant actions by an instrument of the State?”

      Nicely put Ross Meurant. That was my reaction too. The wording suggests they are pissed off about being forced by the judicial system into having to write it.

      More often than not, the source of these cases are people (or a person) who are jealous of.. or hold a grudge against the victim and they sate their desire for revenge by submitting false claims to the authorities. They, in turn, go into overdrive and start harassing and bullying the innocent victim. When it finally dawns on them the claims had no truth to them, rather than make amends to the victim they dive for cover and accordingly allow the original complainant to get clean away with the malice motivated falsehoods. That was my experience anyway.

    • “Begrudged”. Yes, very much so, Ross.

      Well done, Martin, you’ve not only won and beat the bastards, but have shown why the power of state security agencies MUST be wound back. W3 must never have a case like this again.

  17. Congratulations. A truly well deserved outcome. Don’t drop your guard
    cause they still lurk in the dark for their corporation bosses.

  18. What in Gods name was going on in the police hierarchy at that time? That question has never been answered.

    Dirty Politics left a stain on the National Party that remains to this day and it damaged Brand Key for sure, although like the tooth fairy we idiots were told and must believe that the filth machine operating out of John Keys office had nothing to do with him and he didn’t know nothing.

    Bizarrely something must have gone on behind the scenes, a word here, a nod there because nek minute, out rolled the police executive version of Keystone Cops and out of touch cops who had been mothballed for years from reality in Wellington ran to the aid of the National Party. Clearly when the Nats said jump, the answer was we are bringing out the trampolines. And jump they did, each trying to prove they could outdo the other in their quest to be Nationals bestest friend and faithful humble servant. Appointing a Superintendent no less to be Slators boy whilst he was in Israel to front foot his complaint was something I have not seen before. https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/handling-slater-complaint-stunned-cop

    Actually, it was astounding how much influence was brought to bear over real victims of crime for the defence of National.

    Labours accounts being hacked by the same corrupt National Party department, that looked like a very legitimate complaint, saw that complaint to police swiftly swept under the carpet, nothing to see here.

    This forelock-tugging obsequiousness by some cops really damaged the so-called neutrality of the police in politics and permanently damaged their investigative ability.

    I do not for a moment imagine many cops look upon what happened to you and others by their bosses to shield National as a good thing.

  19. Well done Martin and your legal team.

    Also respect to Andrew Little, Matt McCarten, David Fisher, and David Seymour for the support you gave.

    This was terrible and should never have happened.

    I can only hope the settlement was generous to provide some justice for the incredible stress this has put you through and the enormous hill you had to climb with no guarantee of success.

    Keep up the good work, Peter…

  20. I hope you get a massive cash settlement too. The deep state kiwi overlords who own us and manipulate the police for their benefit would relate to that. And don’t forget to charge the bastards GST either.

  21. ” In real life its always the anvil that breaks the hammer ”

    Mr Bradbury all decent Kiwis will be proud of you and your team for prevailing against this illegal onslaught on you and your family which was utterly despicable and dangerous.

    I can’t imagine how fearful you must have felt but you showed immense courage and fortitude.

    I know you had the support of a lot of us here.

    Bomber thank you for fighting not just for yourself but for any New Zealander who may find themselves in a similar predicament in the future.

    Just when you think it is totally dark someone shines a light.

    Your daughter will be proud.

  22. Congratulations Martyn. A win for the ordinary Kiwi. Many thanks.

    Your little girl is a sweetie. Enjoy your time out with her. You deserve it.

  23. Martyn;

    We all need to set you in place for either a ‘knight hood’ or ‘person of the year’ – or both as you deserve every part of it; – after the massive effort you unselfishly sacrificed your family for all others.

    Best of Xmas and a brighter 2020 to your family.

    • Totally agree on an award or recognition here rather than this being ignored by the MSM.

      if we have too stomach a bastard like Key getting knighted for screwing all of those who don’t have money and governing the country for their own advancement and that of their donors then Martyn Bradbury , Nicky Hagar and Jon Stevenson deserve our praise and support.

  24. Along with everyone else, I congratulate you Martyn for standing up to the dark manipulative forces of the state who, under direction from their masters and the guise of protecting us, do not care about destroying the reputations of good people like you, Nicky Hager and no doubt many others.

    The dreadful thing is that the Police only apologised after they lost in the Human Rights Review Tribunal but up until then they tried every trick in the book to justify what they did and to paint you as some sort of malevolent character who was endangering the national security. So the apology, while it was totally appropriate, should have been issued long before now.

    The Police refused to accept they were at fault, which is their default position all the time, and when you read the apology, it is perfunctory and totally bereft of sincerity.

    Standing up for your rights meant standing up for all of our rights too. Unfortunately it left you a bit bruised and battered so enjoy the time off.

  25. Congratulations Martyn! This is excellent news for democracy. When you have children you realise that sometimes you have to do unpleasant, stressful things like this not just for your own justice but also the future of your children.

    Your daughter can be rightly proud of her father for fighting the good fight and not backing down.

  26. Well done and congratulations. Though the police apology is half-hearted it’s still an acknowledgement that they have abused their powers. We await for someone at the top to resign, but that’ll never happen. This country doesn’t do responsibility for The Establishment.

    You fought a righteous battle Martyn. You have much to be proud of. This country owes you.

    Anne & Noel

  27. Shit, I wish the police would use their “powers” to actually fight crime, real crime.
    My wife’s boss owns a lunch bar that has been burgled 4 times over the last five years. He has reported each one to the police. The same people have been identified more than once in video footage.
    The police haven’t come out to investigate even once.
    When the police claim to not have enough stuff to investigate real crime but apparently have plenty to harass government political opponents, you wonder just how compromised the police force is.
    Time for Stuart Nash to live up to the promises he made before the last election.

  28. I have a few more things to sort out with state agencies also, besides of ones already dealt with, this will give me encouragement to keep on fighting the bastards.

  29. Well done, Martyn. Justice was on your side! Good to know that the power of the State can still be reigned in!

  30. Well done to you and Graeme. You’ve both taken on the power of the State – and won. Your case, along with the leaking of Winston Peters’ superannuation details and the illegal search and seizure of Nicky Hager’s property is a damning indictment of the kind of quasi-police state we are verging on (if not crossed into).

    This illustrates why so many New Zealanders – including the dogged John Campbell through his former programme, ‘Campbell Live’ – were 100% justified in opposing increasing the surveillance powers of the GCSB, SIS, Police, and god knows who else.

    The abuse of Police power – already considerable – showed how justified our fears were. And still are.

    It is why I made a submission to the Justice Select committee on the GCSB Bill (which would permit surveillance of New Zealanders in our own country) should not only stop – but that the powers of the GCSB should be re-set to those of 1977. Then a full public enquiry held to determine what, if any, changes really needed to be made.

    I still believe this more than ever to be necessary.

    Secondly, the so-called Police apology is notable for this appalling part of their statement;

    “Police apologise for the stress and other psychological harm caused to you by virtue of YOUR INVOLVEMENT in this investigation.”

    That is insulting language and is a subtle attempt to push blame on to you.

    Additionally, there was also financial and reputational harm caused to you by Police abuse of their power. It is clear that you were denied bank loans as a direct consequence of Police activity.

    The appropriate phrasing should have been;

    “Police apologise for the financial, reputational, stress, and other psychological harm caused to you by virtue of our unjustified actions that inappropriately involved you in this investigation.”

    That phrasing would be accepting responsibility. The original phrasing barely achieves that.

    Lastly, there should be resignation(s) from the Police force. Someone authorised this illegal activity. That/those someone(s) are still in positions of authority within the New Zealand Police. They still wield power.

    I find that troubling in the extreme.

    • Well done Martyn. Unfortunately Frank, due to the grubby little memorandum of understanding between the nz bankers assoc. and nz police, which is phrased in a catch all way (upholding of the law) or some such, nz banks will hand over anyone’s details without judicial warrant.

    • Further to my previous reply Frank an excerpt from a herald article.
      “The application for the information was based on a scheme used by police across the entire banking industry – a claim that an exception to the Privacy Act allowed banks to hand over information to police if they believe it will assist maintaining law and order”.

      The scheme was promoted by the NZ Bankers’ Association and at one stage saw banks receiving daily requests for customer information.

    • Frank “Police apologise for the stress and other psychological harm caused to you by virtue of YOUR INVOLVEMENT in this investigation.” You’ve nailed there. Really beneath the belt that.

      Chances are this was written by some smart alec in human resources who thinks he’s being clever, and that the rest of us out here are dingbats – human resources in most or all govt depts are fairly hopeless – and PR are usually just as bad – failed journos still dreaming of doing an Eleanor Catton.

      (If they weren’t in HR, there’s nothing else most could do apart from stacking supermarket shelves, becoming politicians, or returning to the priesthood.)

      If it was written by a police officer it is insolent when they involved Bradbury in the first place – except that we all more or less accept – I think – that that was a very soiled time in New Zealand politics, when the police were perceived as maybe being used by an odious little slug for his own purposes.

      It’s already been noted that govt depts can become afflicted by urinary incontinence when asked to provide ministerial replies, and requests from the highest office – what a laugh – are probably worse. Let it not be forgotten that look-at-my-flag Key was reported as being incandescent with rage when “Dirty Politics’ was published, when he should have been bowing his head in shame.

      PM Ardern has to be careful that she does not abuse her office – there’s already been one hint of that when she announced that a woman taking legal action against one of the armed forces should not have to pay her own legal costs. Ardern’s sentiments were right, but making high-handed pronouncements to media, is not good process. It jarred me, and I was surprised when an apolitical relative later mentioned it as political interference or govt by fiat.

      The police really need to talk with themselves, and perhaps with non in-house lawyers, about their own protocols when cess-pit scenarios like the extraordinary vile one’s documented by Nicky Hager emerge. Those who haven’t read “Dirty Politics” can have little idea how truly appalling too many people are. And worse than that – how scaringly malicious.

  31. Well done Martin,

    I do not always agree with your politics, but as the old saying goes, will defend with everything your right to say it. Thank you for your courage.

    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” – George Orwell.

  32. congrats martyn,
    your tenacity has shone through.
    my wife and i have just been through two years of hell because of the transport agency
    Byrne Vs nzta, whangarei district court, 4-6 nov, 2019.
    we are awaiting judgment.
    during this hearing evidence was produced by nzta that showed a male nzta employee was spying on a female employee (my wife) of a nzta supplier to gather evidence on her for this above trial. no evidence was produced and this male employee is still spying on myself and our 6 yr old son as my wife has had to move away for fears of her safety. this male employee of nzta has a colourful police history. this employee also provided evidence he is spying on families of our isolated community still.
    it was testified in court that this was authorised by senior nzta employees and condoned by then acting ceo brett gliddon.
    it feels like a massive breach of civil and human rights, and we feel very persecuted by this.
    But we will not stop.

  33. We need an entrenched Bill of Rights in NZ. We also need to reform government in this country but I doubt any of these things will come about as long as we keeping supporting the same parties and govts who have consistently failed us.

  34. “Police apologise for the stress and other psychological harm caused to you by virtue of your involvement in this case.”

    “your’ involvement.

    These are weasel words.
    Although an apology, however subtly they still snidely imply you were “involved”, and are therefore a cause of of your own discomfort. It’s not a straightforward apology for their behaviour.

    Sorry to rain on the parade. Congrats for the settlement.

  35. Unbelievable. Not surprised though. American politics has been inspiring both sides of the eisle in our govenment to trial their political games on our own people to see where the pushback might be or not be. The more we awaken and stay aware of the current and potential corruption against us as a people the better. Thank you for your blog and keeping me informed, and aware to make my own mind up. We don’t need to give any elected politician any benefit of the doubt. They decide to represent a group of people with taxpayer benefits, then they should be held to a higher standard and made accountable to our collective wellbeing.

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