"This was human error. It should not have occurred. The AFP takes it very seriously and we take full responsibility for breaching the Act," Colvin said during a news conference.
The records were obtained under the Turnbull government's new metadata retention regime, which requires cellphone providers to store customer’s phone records for two years, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"The vulnerability is the investigator needs to understand that that's their requirement," Colvin said of the requirement for law enforcement to, indeed, obtain warrants. "On this occasion, the investigator didn't."
When questioned about whether or not he would still be using the records in their case, Colvin said, "clearly they can't unsee it. They'll need to consider… what weight they put on what they saw, but that material was accessed illegally, so it can have no bearing on the conduct of the investigation."
The incident is now under investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.