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.