AFP commissioner apologises to Seven for ‘unnecessary reputational damage’ following raid in February

AFP raid yahoo7The Australian Federal Police Commissioner has unreservedly apologised to Seven for the “unnecessary repetitional damage to Seven” arising from the February raids on Seven, over alleged payments to Schapelle Corby.

The raid in February followed speculation Seven had agreed to pay convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby between $1m and $3m for exclusive interview rights following her ordeal, split between Sunday Night and one of its magazines, New Idea.

Mumbrella understands the apology is part of a settlement which included damages and costs, arising from Seven’s decision to ask the court to quash the warrants, being paid by the AFP. 

In a letter to Seven the Commissioner Tony Negus said: “For the record, neither Seven, nor its employees, officers or lawyers, were ever suspected of a criminal offence, nor were they the subject of any criminal investigation in connection with the Corby matter, which was solely a literary proceeds matter seeking to recover any payments made to a convicted person.

“Similarly, the AFP acknowledges that Seven fully cooperated with the AFP investigation.”

During the raids on the company offices in February police found a document relating to a deal Channel Seven had stuck with the family of Schapelle Corby, although Seven’s CEO Tim Worner insisted it was an “unsigned agreement for a deal never consummated”. He later described the raids as “overkill“, while the union representing journalists labelled it “heavy handed” and a “complete over reaction.”

It was reported in March that the channel would consider seeking damages from the AFP following a judge quashing the raid’s search warrants.

Chairman of Seven West Media, Kerry Stokes has released a statement following on from the apology, noting that mistakes are made from time to time.

He said: “We appreciate the extensive apology from the Australian Federal Police for the incident that occurred in February this year.

“At Seven, we understand fully that from time to time mistakes are made and this acknowledgement adds to the recognition and respect we have for the 6,000 members of the AFP who dedicate their lives to protectingAustralia.

“No better example of that can be found in the recent Ukraine crisis when not only was the AFP instantly there when needed but totally prepared to put their own lives at risk and to enter a war zone unarmed. These actions typify the reason that we at Seven continue to respect our friends at the AFP.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them and where possible assist them in their important tasks. And underlining that excellent relationship is Border Security, our award-winning hard-edged real life documentary series which continues to go from strength to strength in its twelfth series, highlighting these areas of contemporary relevance for all Australians.”

Following the raid the police launched an internal investigation which was then dropped in March.

Miranda Ward 

Full letter from Negus to Seven West Media

AFP letter of apology to Seven West Media


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