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There may very well be secret prosecutions and secret jailings happening now, and they can and will continue until the law is reformed.

Former military lawyer David McBride outside the ACT Supreme Court last year
Former military lawyer David McBride outside the ACT Supreme Court last year (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Many readers would have a passing awareness of the “Alan Johns” or “Witness J” matter, in which a former intelligence officer was secretly charged, arraigned, convicted, sentenced and imprisoned in a Canberra jail in “unprecedented” Kafkaesque style in early 2019.

But few would know of this telling exchange between Greens Senator David Shoebridge and the independent national security legislation monitor, Grant Donaldson SC, two months ago.

“All of the orders that were made in the Alan Johns matter that gave rise to [its secrecy] were made by the consent of the parties,” Donaldson said, as he fronted the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee.

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About the Author

Maeve McGregor — Reporter

Maeve McGregor

Reporter

Maeve McGregor is a reporter for Crikey, with a special interest in law and government integrity issues. Prior to this, she was a lawyer.

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