The Australian Federal Police (AFP) cleared a former media aide of Prime Minister Julia Gillard from any wrongdoing despite the information that he leaked to Canberra protesters during the Australia Day celebration early this year.
According to The Herald Sun, the AFP inquiry has concluded that Tony Hodges acted within his role as a staff of Ms Gillard, setting aside the result of his decision to inform a union official of the exact whereabouts of his boss and that of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
The AFP probe, the publication said, yielded findings that convinced police authorities there was "no evidence of criminal conduct by any other person within the Prime Minister's office."
"No criminal offences such as unlawful disclosure or incitement to affray," were gleaned by police investigators following careful assessment of available evidences, according to documents on the matter issued by the AFP to the News Ltd publication.
"Mr Hodges accurately conveyed Mr Abbott's message (and) Mr Hodges' actions in contacting Ms Sattler were within the scope of his duties as a media adviser," the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported the AFP findings as saying.
Both Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott were in The Lobby restaurant attending an Australia Day function when protesters led by aboriginal activists trooped to the place and demanded to see the Liberal leader.
The protesters became unruly and started banging on the glass walls of the restaurant, prompting security escorts of the two leaders to bodily carry them out of the besieged establishment.
Ensuing scuttles saw a seemingly hapless Ms Gillard clinging to one of her guards and losing a shoe in the process, with the whole incident beamed around the world.
It turned out that the whole episode was sparked by a phone call on the same day by Mr Hodges to union leader Kim Sattler, who in turn tipped off aboriginal militant Barbara Shaw.
The message merely suggested that Mr Abbott was in the restaurant and was within "the public domain," the AFP said.
The problem arose when Ms Sattler wrongly interpreted an earlier statement issued by Mr Abbott regarding the Canberra tent embassy, with the activists allegedly getting the impression that the Liberal leaders wanted to pull down the embassy.
Yet in a later statement by the opposition leader, Mr Abbott clarified that he had meant for the aboriginal activists to move on with the issues that led to the establishment of the makeshift embassy.
The confusion, the AFP said, was brought about by the inaccurate translation of Mr Hodges' message, which Ms Sattler conveyed to Ms Shaw.
The implication of Mr Hodges' actions may not be legally questionable but his judgement is a different issue, the AFP said, though the agency conceded that area was "outside the scope of the AFP's evaluation."
Ms Gillard's aide immediately resigned following the embarrassing incident.
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