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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Urewera 18 trial charges dropped

'Urewera 18' charges dropped

All firearms charges against the "Urewera 18" arrested after police raids on alleged military training camps in the Ureweras have been dropped.

But four of the accused, including Tame Iti, will still stand trial on charges of participating in an organised crime group.

The Supreme Court has ruled certain evidence inadmissable at the so-called "terror raid" trial of next year which was set to last for three months.

This move is hardly a surprise: the writing had been on the wall since the raids among legal experts that the charges would be difficult to uphold. The case was a colossal waste of tax-payers' money and time and should have always been prosecuted under criminal law rather than under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

New Zealand seems to have a history of making state suppression look ridiculously carnivalesque: just try showing foreigners the photos of the clowns being beaten by the Red Squad during the 1981 Springbok Tour and you'll see what I mean. This case also seemed equally ludicrous: the idea of terrorists in the Ureweras - one of the most remote regions in New Zealand - was laughed at by many when the news broke, the interviews with people who attended the training camp who stated that their first priority was Maori resistance and second getting the high wages paid to security forces in Iraq, and then we let out the main terrorist suspect Tame Iti to go and perform in the Maori The Tempest in London in the middle of his trial.

Let's hope for everyone's sake that there is a rethink on this one. There should be an enquiry given that this is a case that did so much damage to race relations between Maori and Pakeha due to the presence of 300 police during the raids in Ruatoki, with a police stop that was on the very spot that marked the confiscation of Tuhoe land during the New Zealand wars. While this one could be written off politically as a case of post-9/11 paranoia, it does beg the question of where we draw the line on legislation.


At 6/9/11 9:36 pm, Blogger Unemployed Reporter said...

another good job by Brian, the ultimate security contractor...

At 6/9/11 10:15 pm, Blogger Richard Christie said...

Well, it's not the first time Howard Broad's targets get to walk, he also proudly announced the arrest of the women, sorry, I mean the satanic witches, who worked with Peter Ellis at the Christchurch Creche in 1992.

It seems that Howard gets a little carried away in his role, not an uncommon trait amongst those in the blue uniforms.

At 6/9/11 10:17 pm, Blogger Frank said...

Phoebe, my parents immigrated from an Eastern European country that was under the domination of a much-hated, Moscow-aligned, communist government. It was one of those Eastern European states hat had an uprising against the puppet-government, and which was bloodily put down.

I never, in a million years, thought that the stories they told me could come to pass here in New Zealand.

Those were "terror raids" alright. But it wasn't the "Urewera 18" that were terroring folk in 2007. It was the black garbed; jack-booted; heavily armed para-military force that raided an isolated village in our own country.

What next? "Extraordinary rendition" to Kazahkstan to "help Police with enquiries"?

I wondfer if New Zealanders would be so sanguine about this affair had it happened in Karori or Parnell?

At the very least, there has to be a Commission of Inquiry into this mess. Prefereably held by an honest person - but Justice Peter Mahon is dead, unfortunately.

At 7/9/11 10:42 am, Blogger KjT said...

Unfortunately the financial and psychological punishments inflicted on individuals, the law now says are innocent, have been the same as if they were guilty.

There should be a means of suing the police for charges that are later thrown out of court.

It may slow their enthusiasm for this sort of overreaction.

At 7/9/11 10:44 am, Blogger Frank said...

From John Key:

""They are charged with the responsibility of keeping New Zealanders safe and they have a responsibility to act where they believe that people are at risk.

"It's my view that the police acted because they believed people were at risk." "

No, Mr Key. The Police were not acting "because they believed people were at risk."

The police PUT people at risk with their Gestapo/KGB/Stasi-like raids.

They were terror raids alright - and it was the police who were acting as terrorists.

At 7/9/11 3:26 pm, Blogger Ovicula said...

I fully expect to see more of this as people start to see past Key's vacant smile and his misprunciation of Inglsh as spoke by New Zilldas. Mind you, as long as I can remember, governments have given the Police everything they have asked for and been quick to defend them against any accusations of wrongdoing. The rich only sleep soundly at night because they have paid thugs doing unspeakable things to the heaving underclasses, to misquote a British author and Cactus Kate at the same time.


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