Corruption lawyer our first bugging and wiretap boss
A RESPECTED corruption lawyer has been appointed NSW’s first Surveillance Devices Commissioner.
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman will announce today that solicitor Don McKenzie would fill the role, created in response to one of thestate’s most damaging police scandals.
Surveillance device warrants are vital tools in organised crime investigations and allow police to place listening devices in homes or tracking devices on cars.
The warrants also cover optical and data surveillance.
In a bid to ensure the warrants target the right people, Mr McKenzie, a former Independent Commission Against Corruption lawyer, will be in charge with scrutinising applications in NSW.
He will also have the right to be heard by a judge on whether a warrant should be granted.
“I believe there is a need for an independent eye to consider key aspects of applications with a view to protecting the general public interest,” Mr McKenzie said.
“In particular, the right to privacy needs to be jealously guarded.”
The new commissioner role was created late last year in response to Operation Prospect, a probe into illegal bugging allegations involving more than 100 NSW Police officers between 1991 and 2001.
Mr McKenzie knows the case well having been legal services director at the NSW Crime Commission during the final stages of Operation Prospect.
Currently working for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Myanmar, Mr McKenzie will start the new role on November 4.