The case of the Crown v Collaery dragged on for so long that, when it ended with a single act on Thursday, there seemed to be little to celebrate.
You could be forgiven for wondering, instead, whether it was all for nothing.
Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery had been due to stand trial for breaching the Intelligence Services Act, and had been preparing to contest the charges since ASIO raided his home in 2013.
Throughout those years, the government has spent millions trying to conceal the information Collaery - and his own client, known as Witness K - had already brought to light.
But new federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has put an end to the long-running saga, exercising powers that allowed him to "decline to proceed" with the protracted prosecution proceedings.
Mr Dreyfus is now considering law changes that would give whistleblowers better protection, a stunning about-face from one government to the next.
"There will be a need to protect whistleblowers in connection with the work of the national anti-corruption commission," he said, adding that he had a long-standing commitment to the protection of "genuine whistleblowers".
Mr Collaery's alleged crimes had been to help expose the wrongdoing of Australian government spies in gaining an unfair advantage over Timor Leste for a multinational oil consortium in the Timor Sea.
While espionage and otherwise clandestine behaviour is part and parcel of various international relations activities, the behaviour Collaery was highlighting is exactly the kind that, should it come to light, should trigger whistleblower protection laws.
But the former Coalition government was determined to proceed with the case, which seemed ultimately to be more about warning off other would-be whistleblowers than it did national security.
Public interest, in this case, was obliterated in the face of an ideological clamp-down on any leaking of national security material, no matter the reason.
To this end, former attorneys-general Christian Porter and Michaelia Cash had furnished ACT Supreme Court Justice David Mossop with vast tracts of court-only evidence to sift through to determine how open the case should be.
Justice Mossop, as an indication, perhaps, of how vexing the case had been, dubbed this the "spooky material", and expressed displeasure more than once at how long the case had dragged on.
As Jack Waterford wrote in these pages last week, the Collaery prosecution had been defined, from start to finish, by the fact that the wrong people were in the dock. Collaery was not the wrongdoer, and his actions should have been protected.
And if his case leads to reform in the way whistleblowers are treated, then perhaps these last years of frustration won't have been in vain.
The case may also trigger an overhaul of national security laws which, as the Law Council pointed out Friday, have long tilted the balance too far in favour of protecting security at the expense of the rights of whistleblowers.
There are many reasons for such laws to exist, but there are now serious questions as to whether they have been overused or abused.
Mr Collaery may yet be able to console himself that his actions had positive results, even if it took a change of government.
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