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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Urewera trial "likely to result in fines": Wikileaks

Urewera arrests make Wikileaks cables

The 18 people arrested during the Urewera police raids are likely to face fines if they are convicted of firearms charges, a leaked US embassy document says.

The cable, published by the website WikiLeaks, is from the US embassy in Wellington to State Department officials in Washington.

The cable was sent by the then US ambassador William McCormack in November, 2007, and provides a background and some limited commentary on the Urewera police raids a month earlier.

"New Zealand police have told post that they expect those charged to escape incarceration and likely to pay only a fine," Mr McCormack said.

Lawyer Moana Jackson was the co-author of a letter to Solicitor General David Collins QC last week. The letter asked for a stay in proceedings and was signed by 150 prominent Maori, academics and activists.

Mr Jackson said the cable shows the tragedy of police allowing the case to go on for four years.

"It shows that they realised very early on that once the terrorism charges were thrown out, that all they had left were Arms [Act] charges and those are run of the mill, day-to-day charges."

It's well overdue that the state comes clean on what information they have in regards to this case. The case is due to be tried later this month, and despite being in the public interest, we have been told that there will be a suppression of evidence and the case will be decided by a lone judge rather than a jury.

It is worth highlighting that Ahmed Zaoui's case similarly dragged on for a long time despite what was clearly flimsy evidence, so flimsy in fact that the SIS issued their first official apology ever. Such long running cases work to run down the defendants and have dire financial consequences in mounting legal costs, at the same time as costing the taxpayer a lot of money.

If the state does have compelling evidence of terrorism rather than violations of the Arms Act, they should come forward now rather than hushing the whole case up in what reeks of Kangaroo Court to save face for overenthusiastic raids.


At 5/5/11 11:21 am, Blogger Arto said...

And the anti terrorism ninjas are getting ready to raid Tuhoe's Te Whanau a Apanui neighbours down the road.

At 5/5/11 11:54 am, Blogger BobbyD said...

My perception so far has been that it's the '18' who have caused it to be dragged on this long by appealing and contesting every little aspect of the case. And it is also they whom have been arguing for name suppression and supression of the evidence throughout?

At 5/5/11 2:21 pm, Blogger Phoebe Fletcher said...

No, they want a jury trial and a public one. The rationale by the state is that the case is too complex for a jury.

At 5/5/11 3:35 pm, Blogger BobbyD said...

Why then did they previously try to get the case dismissed by claiming that any Jury would be biased against them and they wouldn't get a fair Jury trial?

At 5/5/11 7:52 pm, Blogger Angela said...

its sad we only know this because of info leaked from the yanks,otherwise the police would have us believing were surrounded by terrorists and we need to give up all our rights. luckily we now have the national goverment to do this for us. phew!

At 6/5/11 6:35 am, Blogger Michael Bott said...

Re: asking for a jury trial while complaining that jury pool tainted. There is no conflict. Every NZer charged with an indictable offence has the right to a fair trial before a jury comprised of their peers. The Police spun and released tasty news to the media & the two right wing corporations who control our main daily publications regurgitated the pro-Police spin slavishly. Arguably this could have tainted any jury pool. The fact that the State created the whirlwind of publicity & the media ran with it was not the fault of the accused. Why should they lose the right to trial by jury because the State fans negative publicity?

Michael Bott


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