News National Frances Abbott scholarship leaker faces jail

Frances Abbott scholarship leaker faces jail

Bridget and Frances Abbott with their father Tony
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A 20-year-old Sydney student faces possible jail time for revealing a secret $60,000 scholarship awarded to Frances Abbott.

University of Technology Sydney student Freya Newman was charged on Wednesday with unauthorised access to restricted data held in a computer, according to a News Limited report.

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The woman was working as a night librarian at the Whitehouse Institute of Design when she gained unauthorised access to the prime minister’s daughter’s file and leaked information to website New Matilda.

NSW police said they received a complaint from Whitehouse Institute that their computers had been hacked, handing over CCTV footage that identified Ms Newman as being responsible.

The communications student has been charged under the section 308H of the NSW Crimes Act, an offence that carries a maximum of two years in jail.

New Matilda editor Chris Graham said that the media had a responsibility to protect its sources.

“It’s concerning that any person who is accused of leaking information in the public interest would be pursued by the government of the day,” he said.

The student has been offered legal assistance by her university’s student union, and a Facebook group called ‘Free Freya Newman’ has been created.