(Image: Private Media)
(Image: Private Media)

In an extraordinary ruling yesterday, the ACT Supreme Court decided that the illegality of the Howard government's bugging of the Timor-Leste cabinet room in 2004 was irrelevant for the proposes of the Morrison government's political prosecution of Bernard Collaery for his role in disclosing the bugging.

It removes at a stroke a key element of Collaery's defence -- that the bugging was not done in accordance with the functions of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service -- because ACT Supreme Court judge David Mossop has blocked Collaery, a former ACT attorney-general, from subpoenaing ASIS, DFAT, Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Office of National Intelligence to provide material that would prove or disprove the bugging was not in accordance with ASIS functions.

Mossop has, outrageously, effectively declared that it doesn't matter ASIS' activities were outside the scope of its functions and therefore illegal -- Collaery has no right to seek information that could expose that.