Updated: Seven CEO accuses police of ‘overkill’ after Schapelle raids

seven schapelle policeThe Australian Federal Police have refuted claims from Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner raids on their offices today were “overkill” and say they come after talking to the media company over the issue of Schapelle Corby’s paid interview for a week.

Worner has released a statement this afternoon saying the group had been co-operating with the police and had “instructed our lawyers to provide any additional information”, but said their lawyer’s offices had also been raided today.

Police say they were searching for documents relating to alleged payments made to Schapelle corby who was released from prison in Bali last week after nine years, and who is thought to have sold her story to Seven’s Sunday Night show.

Worner said in a statement: “We want to emphasize that at all times we have fully co-operated with the AFP in this matter. A raid on our offices at Pyrmont and at Pacific Magazines and at our lawyers’ offices involving around 30 police and eight squad cars to find information we have already provided seems like overkill to say the least. But what is most disturbing is to also seek to use search warrants to access all of our news and corporate records. This is without justification and quite possibly unprecedented for a media organization.

“We see any interference in fair reporting and newsgathering as regrettable. Seven has responded fully and comprehensively to all requests for information. We have a history of that type of co-operation. We also have a history of providing and breaking news stories and reporting matters of public interest. And Seven remains committed to that.”

Earlier today the union which represents journalists told Mumbrella it felt the searches were “heavy handed” and designed to “intimidate” Seven away from running an interview, which is understod to be planned for its flagship Sunday Night program.

In an earlier statement police said officers “behaved appropriately” during the raids and said the Proceeds of Crime Act could be used to recoup funds from people selling their stories of criminal activity to media outlets.

The police statement:

The AFP has been in discussion with Channel 7 and their legal representatives regarding a Proceeds of Crime Act matter since 11 February 2014.

The AFP has today executed a number of search warrants in Sydney in relation to this matter.

During these search warrants, AFP members behaved appropriately and in accordance with their responsibilities and legal obligations.

These search warrants were conducted in relation to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which provides the legislative framework for the restraint and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime against Australian law. This includes provisions for literary proceeds, where a person profits from their criminal notoriety.

Literary proceeds action does not prevent a person from telling his or her story to the media. The provisions do not interfere with freedom of speech.

The purpose of the provision is to prevent a person deriving a financial benefit from criminal activity.

All AFP search warrants are authorised by a magistrate or an appropriate member of the judiciary following sufficient supporting documentation or material being presented.

The matter remains ongoing and it is not appropriate to comment further.


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