VIC Search Warrant and Police Queries Under Criminal Law

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9 February 2016
Dear all,

Two matters that require help/ experience if available.

1. Search Warrant

A search warrant was executed at my home some months ago, taking away all my electronic items and some private documents. The search warrant was authorised by a magistrate for investigation of a cyber crime. The police had my materials for many months now. I had a lawyer sent them numerous request for copies of my data and documents as there is nothing in what they had collected that relates to the alleged crime but the requests were all ignored.

While I understand they do not believe me when I say there is nothing useful for their prosecution in my equipment, they are all digital and a copy is a reasonable request under the Confiscation Act. The police claim it will take x months for their e-crime department to go through my equipment but until now there had been no charge, no news.

The time estimate they had given had came and went and no noise from the police. I am reluctant to go to court to request an order for my items back because it's going to cost an arm and leg in legal fees. Is there a time under Criminal Law where the police should return the items if the charges never came forward?

2. After the search warrant, I was arrested for questioning and then released 'pending charges'. Once again charges did not arrive after many months. I had applied for some volunteer work and these 'pending investigation' (not charges) showed up on my police check and I look like a harden criminal in spite of no conviction and no charges.

Sad to say, I did not pursue the volunteer work. Does anyone have a clue when a reasonable time is, assuming the charges never surfaced, to expect the police to 'close the investigation'?

I understand I can hire a lawyer to question the police and court - however, I am reluctant to 'rock the boat' and waste my money to pursue what is looking increasingly like bad police work.


Hi bluehat,

I understand you don't want to "rock the boat" so to speak but the easiest way to get your things back is to talk with the police conducting the investigation for which the items were seized. The police must give you back your things when the items are not:
• potential evidence of an offence
• proceeds of crime, for example, money made from selling illegal drugs
• illegal things, like weapons.

If the police refuse to return your things, contact legal aid for some more info. Alternatively you can lodge a compliant at the Police Conduct Unit here: Victoria Police - Compliments and Complaints