No Jury against the State
Real threat is not these guys
Most of us have probably forgotten the action taken against the Tuhoe people four years ago - dawn raids on so-called terrorists.
This week it's been revealed that defendants in the case won't be allowed trial by a jury of their fellow citizens. They will face a lone judge.
The reasons for this decision are suppressed, but it is puzzling.
On what is known publicly, this case has been quite simple since the nonsensical terrorism charges were thrown out by the Solicitor-General.
Of the charges left, most are firearms ones, which I would have thought was fairly clear one way or the other.
Why can't a jury decide them?
The Urewera 18 were a group of chums who played soldier up in the ranges and were targeted as a radical training camp and as a result felt the full force of Police paranoia and over reaction.
Now while I have little time for activists or activist gangsters who pick up guns, and accept that if it had been the National Front who had been running around playing militia, then I would want an eye cast over their activities as well, the over reaction in a land steeped in as much righteous historic injustice as Tuhoe land however in an almost identical incident to their original land confiscation was ignorant and offensive of the Police.
Tama Iti and his merry militia are no more terrorists than I am, (except they go camping), they should never have been apprehended in this manner with these powers, if the concern was so great the Police should have gone directly to Tama Iti to discuss the issue with him, the fact was that the local Police would go to Tama Iti as an outreach person they could use to talk down any hot headedness by any of the locals.
When a blind panicked post 9/11 Parliament breathlessly passed the Terrorism Suppression Act in 2002 , the Green Party and the Maori Party predicted it would be used against Maori and activists, not against terrorists. The Act was found to be so impossible to use, the Judge had no problem dumping it.
Which brings us to the here and now with the decision the case will not be heard by a jury. Now, the Court has that power, but it's supposed to be used in complex cases where the evidence is difficult, this case isn't that complex and these citizens deserve the same rights as any of us, especially as it is the State they have been accused of attacking. They are NZers, and they have the legal right to be heard by a jury of their peers and not by the State appointed Judge, Jury and Executioner.
David Hasselhoff promoting an ice cream at a NZ beach generated more media attention than this Jury denial of supposed terrorists.