High Court of Australia

Smethurst v Commissioner of Police [2020] HCA 14

15 Apr 2020

Case Number: S196/2019

Before

KIEFEL CJ, BELL, GAGELER, KEANE, NETTLE, GORDON, EDELMAN JJ

Catchwords

Police – Search warrants – Validity of warrant – Where police searched premises in reliance on warrant – Where police retained material copied from first plaintiff's mobile phone in reliance on warrant – Where warrant relied upon reasonable grounds for suspecting commission of Commonwealth offence – Where warrant purported to set out offence against s 79(3) of Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) – Whether warrant misstated substance of s 79(3) of Crimes Act – Whether warrant failed to state offence to which it related with sufficient precision.

Injunctions – Mandatory injunction – Principles applicable – Where plaintiffs sought mandatory injunction requiring destruction or delivery up of material obtained under invalid warrant – Where plaintiffs sought injunction restraining police from making information available to prosecuting authorities – Whether statutory basis for injunction – Whether plaintiffs identified legal right to support injunction in auxiliary jurisdiction – Whether consequences of trespass provide basis for injunction – Whether s 75(v) of Constitution provides basis for injunction – Whether damages inadequate – Whether injunctive relief should be refused on discretionary grounds.

Words and phrases – "adequacy of damages", "auxiliary jurisdiction", "basis for injunction", "certiorari", "computer or data storage device", "constitutional injunction", "constitutional remedies", "constitutional writs", "description of the offence", "discretionary considerations", "entry, search and seizure", "equity", "evidential material", "injunction", "injunctive relief", "juridical basis", "legal right or interest", "mandatory injunction", "misstatement", "mobile phone", "nature of the offence", "official secrets", "privacy", "relief", "remedy", "right to privacy", "search warrants", "statement of offence", "substance of the offence", "sufficient interest", "sufficient particularity", "sufficient precision", "trespass".

Constitution – s 75(v).

Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (Cth) – s 8.

Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) – Pts IAA, VII; ss 3C, 3E, 3F, 3H, 3LA, 3ZQU, 79(3).

Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) – s 32.
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