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Kaldas fails to block bugging report

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Rebekah Ison

Former NSW deputy police commissioner Nick Kaldas has lost an 11th-hour bid to stop a report into a police bugging scandal from going public.

Mr Kaldas's legal team earlier this month sought a temporary injunction to prevent the release of the report into Operation Prospect pending outcomes of a court hearing, citing fears of adverse findings against Mr Kaldas and the potential for irreversible harm to his reputation.

NSW Supreme Court judge Peter Garling on Tuesday found that, although Mr Kaldas had raised serious questions to be tried, numerous parties were interested in the report, including 36 complainants and the general public.

"In my view this public interest alone is sufficient to outweigh the plaintiff's (Kaldas's) interest," Justice Garling said.

The acting ombudsman John McMillan will table the report to parliament on Tuesday and it will be made available at 12.30pm.

The four-year, $8.2 million Operation Prospect looked into allegations Mr Kaldas and 113 other officers were illegally bugged during an internal police probe between 1999 and 2001.

It has also probed the NSW Crime Commission and the Police Integrity Commission in relation to investigations which occurred between 1998 and 2002.

In a summons filed to the court, lawyers for Mr Kaldas questioned whether the ombudsman has the jurisdiction to make findings that Mr Kaldas gave false evidence in a hearing.

They have accused then-ombudsman Bruce Barbour of displaying an apprehension of bias against Mr Kaldas, after discussing his situation with Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione in a private meeting without giving Mr Kaldas the same or even lesser contact.

Justice Garling questioned why Mr Kaldas had taken so long to start legal action when the report's release had been foreshadowed.

He told the court he had considered restraining the acting ombudsman from recommending the report be made public but in that case it could be leaked without parliamentary privileges applying.

A restriction, in that case, would not be in the interest of "good public administration", he said.

Mr Kaldas has long raised concerns about the procedural fairness of Operation Prospect.

The investigation was set up in October 2012 after the state government granted Mr Barbour special powers to look into the surveillance of police officers as part of a joint investigation called Operation Mascot/Florida.

That surveillance was carried out under an investigation involving Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and headed by Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

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