Epsom teacup chat to remain secret - High Court

Decision means a police investigation into Mr Key's complaint of communication interception can go ahead un-interrupted, but media who publish or pass on details of the chat may do so at their peril. RAW DATA: Read the judgment.

The High Court this afternoon refused an application which would have allowed publication of details of the John Key/John Banks teacups chat.

RAW DATA: Justice Winkelmann's judgment (PDF)

Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann’s decision, means a police investigation into Mr Key’s complaint of communication interception can go ahead un-interrupted, but media who publish or pass on details of the chat may do so at their peril.

Justice Winkelmann made it clear she had not reached any view on whether the tea pot chat was "a private communication."

The decision means that without the consent of either Mr Key or Mr Banks to publish, the public have no lawful means of knowing what was said on the recording and speculation will continue.

Freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose, supported by TV3, failed in convincing the court that all of the much-publicised and orchestrated endorsement “event” of ACT candidate John Banks by Mr Key, was public and could be published.

Mr Ambrose was said to have been working for the Herald on Sunday –which has a copy of the recording - but that newspaper and its Australian owner APN took no part in Tuesday’s court proceedings.

Mr Ambrose’s lawyers challenged Mr Key’s and Mr Banks’ view that the chat became private when media were ushered outside and out of hearing.

Mr Ambrose – who denied intentionally recording the couple – asserted he left his microphone, in a bag, on the table and could not retrieve it before being ushered outside.

Solicitor-General David Collins QC argued against a declaration.

Dr Collins said there was public interest in allowing the police to investigate Mr Key’s complaint, to evaluate the evidence, to take a decision on whether to prosecute and to allow the criminal process to go ahead without interruption.

He said the police investigation was at an early juncture and it was anticipated a “lot more evidence will come to the fore.”

Mr Ambrose has said he intends to sue Mr Key and others for defamation over comments made about his involvement with the recording.