Australia on Tuesday dropped a case against ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks over his prison memoir, concluding that his admissions to a US Military Commission would not stand up in court.
Federal prosecutors launched proceedings against Hicks, 36, in the Supreme Court last year seeking to have the earnings from his autobiography, "Guantanamo: My Journey" declared criminal proceeds seizable by the state.
But government counsel Lionel Robberds said the director of public prosecutions (DPP) had decided to withdraw the case which reportedly centred on Aus$10,000 (US$10,200) from the sale of 30,000 books.
The DPP said the decision had been taken after Hicks challenged the admissibility of evidence including the agreed facts, certificate of conviction and transcript of his hearings before the Military Commission at Guantanamo.
The challenge included evidence not previously available to the government and was "based upon the conditions and circumstances in which he made the relevant admissions".
It also made reference to his conviction by "Alford plea", a form of admission under United States law in which a defendant, while maintaining their innocence, pleads guilty to a crime often hoping to secure a lesser punishment.
After "careful consideration of all matters" the DPP said it had concluded it would be unable to "satisfy the court that (Hicks') admissions should be relied upon and decided that these proceedings should not continue".
Hicks was returned to Australia in April 2007 following a plea deal which saw him serve a nine-month sentence on home soil for providing material support for terrorism, after five-and-a-half years in Guantanamo.
The former cattleman, once dubbed the "Aussie Taliban", told reporters outside court that the withdrawal of the case showed that prosecutors "have no evidence that I've committed any crime".
"In a way I feel that this has cleared my name and I hope now that the Australian government acknowledges that Guantanamo Bay and everything connected with it is illegal," he said.
"I've always felt that it's always been political -- whether back in the days of Guantanamo Bay, and now I've been out for four years and we're still going -- and there's been some closure to that today."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to be drawn on the case, saying it was a matter for the DPP "independent of government".
Hicks had welcomed the case as a chance to challenge his conviction by the US Military Commission "in a real court", and legal watchers had seen it as a potential test of the quasi-judicial Guantanamo system.
But Hicks said the government had "pulled the pin, they weren't prepared to fight us on that".
Constitutional law expert George Williams said the move gave weight to Hicks' claims that "we should have concerns about the nature of his conviction, and also whether it should be recognised within the Australian legal system".
Hicks' controversial memoir describes "six years of hell" in prison, where he endured deprivation and witnessed acts of brutality after being captured in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks in the US.
He details paramilitary training in Afghanistan and Pakistan and involvement in conflicts in Kosovo and Kashmir, but claims he was a "political scapegoat" and said he never had extremist intentions.