Bali Nine refused access to federal police files

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Monday, January 23, 2006 The Bali Nine have been dealt another blow with the Federal Court of Australia dismissing an application for them to gain access to documents held by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The application was bought to court on behalf of Scott Rush, Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens and Michael Czugaj, four of the nine Australians being held in Indonesia for allegedly attempting to smuggle heroin out of Bali.

Their lawyers have claimed that the AFP may have acted illegally by passing information onto Indonesian authorities, which led to their arrest. In Indonesia, convicted drug smugglers may face the death penalty, which Australia is opposed to.

The basis of the argument is that the AFP provided information knowing that Australians could be sentenced to death if the information was correct.

When handing his ruling down in Adelaide, Justice Paul Finn said "It is now the applicants' position that each of them, in their capacity as Australian citizens, has a substantiative legitimate expectation that the Australian government, its agencies and public officers will not act in such a way as to expose them to the risk of the imposition of the death penalty,"

"(But) there would be no arguable basis at all for any contention that AFP officers had a legal responsibility to warn any of the applicants either that they were under police surveillance or that they were exposing themselves to the foreseeable risk of the death penalty.

"Having been prepared for whatever reason to engage in criminal activity, the applicants would properly be regarded as the authors of their own harm.

"And the police would have been entitled to have treated them as no more than subjects of an ongoing criminal investigation which fell clearly within the mandated functions of the AFP."