News

Bail granted despite police concerns

Zach Hogg

A BUNDABERG man has faced court for refusing to give police the password to access his computer equipment after police executed a warrant and seized his computer following the alleged hacking of a secure police radio channel.

Hadyn Benjamin Shorten, 23, faced Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday and was granted bail after being charged with disobeying a lawful order and obstructing police.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens strongly opposed bail and told the court that on September 23 at about 2.30pm a male voice came over the police radio and made abusive and derogatory comments in relation to an officer who was involved in a previous case against the defendant.

"He has an inherent hatred for this officer," Sgt Stevens said.

He said given the history, the defendant became a suspect and on October 8 police executed a warrant which clearly stated the defendant was required to provide any access codes in relation to items seized.

During the search, police located a laptop computer and, when Shorten was asked to provide the password, he allegedly refused and verbally abused and threatened police.

In opposing bail, Sgt Stevens said the defendant still had allegedly not complied with the requirement of the order and, every day he refused to provide the password, he was allegedly continuing to commit an offence.

Sgt Stevens said Shorten allegedly had a sophisticated computer and communications equipment set-up and for the defendant to claim he didn't know the password was false.

"For him to stand up in court and say 'I don't know it' - has no credibility whatsoever," he said.

But defence lawyer Matt Messenger argued there might not be a code to the laptop and that accessing the computer was "a matter for the boffins at the QPS".

In granting bail, magistrate Aaron Simpson said, given no charges had been laid in relation to the hacking of the police radio, Shorten was entitled to bail.

He said while he had not dealt with a case such as this, if he refused bail, bail then became punitive - and that was not what bail was all about.



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