Terrorist group must have already been "carrying out" terrorist acts
According to submissions made by the Crown in Auckland District Court today, only at the end of the week will the police have a sufficiently clear view of their case to decide whether to press on with charges under the Terrorist Suppression Act.
Each accused - most of whom are political activists - faces a number of charges under section 45(1)b of the Arms Act 1983 alleging collective possession of a range of weapons.
Bryan Innes' account:
Last Wednesday [...] we were invaded by about 15 policemen and policewomen and two huge dogs. [...] We were presented with a warrant to search the premises and confined to the lounge whilst the police searched through every nook and cranny in the house. Some time into the search Oscar, who had been looking carefully at the warrant, noticed it was unsigned. At this point I told them to leave. The result was instantaneous. Burly policemen moved in to physically block every exit. The Detective in charge was called in. He then produced a new warrant with an illegible signature on it and no name. He maintained that the absence of the name was to protect the judge. He said he did not know who the judge was but that it was a legal warrant and that they had the right to continue to search irrespective of what we might think.
Given the strength of their physical presence we had no option but to allow them to continue. It was only after it was over that I realised that the second copy he showed me had irregularities not consistent with it being a legitimate court issued document.
I won’t include those irregularities here as the police will be reading this account.
Terrorism Suppression Act 2002
s. 13 Participating in terrorist groups
(1) A person commits an offence who participates in a group or organisation for the purpose stated in subsection (2), knowing that the group or organisation is—
(a) an entity that is for the time being designated under this Act as a terrorist entity; or
(b )an entity that carries out, or participates in the carrying out of, 1 or more terrorist acts.
(2) The purpose referred to in subsection (1) is to enhance the ability of any entity (being an entity of the kind referred to in subsection (1)(a) or (b)) to carry out, or to participate in the carrying out of, 1 or more terrorist acts.
(3) A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
s. 5 Terrorist act defined
(1) An act is a terrorist act for the purposes of this Act if—
(a) the act falls within subsection (2)
(2) An act falls within this subsection if it is intended to cause, in any 1 or more countries, 1 or more of the outcomes specified in subsection (3), and is carried out for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause, and with the following intention:
(a) to induce terror in a civilian population; or
(b) to unduly compel or to force a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.
(3) The outcomes referred to in subsection (2) are—
(a) the death of, or other serious bodily injury to, 1 or more persons (other than a person carrying out the act):
(b) a serious risk to the health or safety of a population:
(c) destruction of, or serious damage to, property of great value or importance, or major economic loss, or major environmental damage, if likely to result in 1 or more outcomes specified in paragraphs (a), (b), and (d):
(d) serious interference with, or serious disruption to, an infrastructure facility, if likely to endanger human life:
(e) introduction or release of a disease-bearing organism, if likely to devastate the national economy of a country.
(5) To avoid doubt, the fact that a person engages in any protest, advocacy, or dissent, or engages in any strike, lockout, or other industrial action, is not, by itself, a sufficient basis for inferring that the person—
(a) is carrying out an act for a purpose, or with an intention, specified in subsection (2); or
(b) intends to cause an outcome specified in subsection (3)
-------------UPDATE: 11:00AM 24/10/2007-------------
Public Address' Graeme Edgeler in Pt 2: Terrorism Charges -- What's Involved:-
section 25. It states:
For the purposes of this Act, a terrorist act is carried out if any 1 or more of the following occurs:
(a) planning or other preparations to carry out the act, whether it is actually carried out or not:
(b) a credible threat to carry out the act, whether it is actually carried out or not:
(c) an attempt to carry out the act:
(d) the carrying out of the act.
There's obviously a good argument that this will overcome any problems associated with the fact TQ hadn't actually done a terrorist act by the time arrests were made. But I don't think it's 100% clear.
If I was the lawyer of one of the Urewera 17, I'd be arguing a couple of things.
First, section 25 appears under the heading "Further provisions relating to interim and final designations" and section 5 of the Interpretation Act 1999 makes it clear that headings can be used to interpret legislation. I'd be arguing that what this section means is that an organisation can be designated a terrorist entity even though "all" they've done so far is plan or threaten terrorism. I'd be arguing that if this was intended to apply not just to designations but to all the offences too, it would be included in the definitions section earlier in the act – not in a part solely related to designations (the "organisation" of a statute can also be used to help interpret it).