The Federal Police (AFP) need warrants for searches of suspected terrorists’ homes to protect their safety, the government’s top lawyer says.
The Australian Federal Court (AFC) on Monday granted a request by the AFP to extend its warrantless searches of the homes and homes of people suspected of terrorism in order to protect them from attack.
In a ruling released on Tuesday, the court said the search warrants should remain in force for five years.
The AFP would be granted permission to extend the searches if the “security interests” of a person or organisation would be “substantially enhanced”, the court found.
But it did not rule on the constitutionality of the warrants.
“It would be a significant intrusion upon the privacy interests of individuals, particularly those who have been subject to the threat of imminent attack,” Justice Anthony Jules said.
Australia is one of only three countries to allow the use of warrantless warrants for police searches, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology.
According to the Supreme Court of Australia, the Australian Constitution and the AFP Act allow police to search homes without warrants if there is a “substantial risk” to their safety or security.
More to come.