Australian Federal Police have called on the DPP to lay charges against an ABC journalist.
Australian Federal Police have called on the DPP to lay charges against an ABC journalist.

AFP calls for charges against ABC journalist

The Australian Federal Police has requested charges be laid against an ABC journalist over the Afghan Files report, one year after officers raided the broadcaster's Ultimo offices.

The AFP confirmed a brief of evidence had been presented to the Department of Public Prosecutions. The ABC reported that only journalist Dan Oakes is named.

 

An AFP officer (left) follows ABC News executive editor John Lyons out the main entrance to the ABC building in Ultimo during the raid last year. Picture: David Gray/AAP
An AFP officer (left) follows ABC News executive editor John Lyons out the main entrance to the ABC building in Ultimo during the raid last year. Picture: David Gray/AAP

"The Australian Federal Police received a referral on 11 July, 2017, from the Chief of the Defence Force and the then-Acting Secretary for Defence in relation to the broadcast and publication of information assessed as classified material," a spokesperson for the AFP said.

"The AFP executed a search warrant on the Ultimo (Sydney NSW) premises of the ABC on 5 June 2019 in relation this matter.

"A brief of evidence has now been forwarded to the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution."

Oakes and his colleague Sam Clark were named in the search warrant when the AFP dramatically raided the ABC's Ultimo offices last year.

 

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The AFP officers seized material relating to the broadcaster's Afghan Files story about alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers.

The AFP allege the ABC broadcast classified information in its reporting on the ADF, and compromised national security.

The Ultimo raids happened just one day after an AFP raid on Sunday Telegraph journalist Annika Smethurst.

ABC managing director David Anderson said he was disappointed by the threat of charges.

"The ABC has been advised today that the AFP is referring allegations against one of our journalists, Dan Oakes, to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions," Mr Anderson said.

"The allegations concern Dan's reporting on the series of stories published by the ABC in 2017 known as the Afghan Files. They were also what prompted the AFP's extraordinary raid on the ABC's Ultimo headquarters last year," he said.

 

Dan Oakes, a senior reporter with the ABC Investigations team.
Dan Oakes, a senior reporter with the ABC Investigations team.

"This is a disappointing and disturbing development. The Afghan Files is factual and important reporting which exposed allegations about Australian soldiers committing war crimes in Afghanistan. Its accuracy has never been challenged."

Mr Anderson said he "welcomed" the news that Sam Clark would not be prosecuted.

"The ABC fully backs Dan and we will continue to support him however we can. Doing accurate journalism that is clearly in the public interest should not be an offence,"Mr Anderson said.

Mr Oakes took to Twitter to respond to the news on Thursday night, saying the powerful must still be held to account

"Would just like to point out at this moment that whether or not we are ever charged or convicted over our stories, the most important thing is that those who broke our laws and the laws of armed conflict are held to account. Our nation should be better," Mr Oakes said.

 

Originally published as AFP calls for charges against ABC journalist


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