Australia's court quashes former ASIO officer's conviction

13:50, May 18, 2010      

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A former Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) officer who was jailed for leaking information about the 2002 Bali bombings to the media has had his conviction set aside on Tuesday.

James Paul Seivers pleaded not guilty to contravening the ASIO Act by passing confidential documents about the Bali bombings onto his house-mate Francis Matthew O'Ryan, who leaked them to several media outlets.

Both men were found guilty by a jury in April last year and in June Seivers was sentenced to 12 months jail, with a minimum six- month term, which he served.

Lawyers for Seivers has argued the court should set aside the conviction because the jury had been misled.

"The only matter that provides any support for the rejection of O'Ryan's evidence is the interest of O'Ryan and hence the accused, in asserting that there had been no common purpose between them," the Court of Appeal found.

"... the appeal ought to be upheld on the ground that the verdict was unsafe and unsatisfactory."

The fairness of the trial was substantially compromised by the prosecutor's comments, the judgment said.

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