THIS JUST IN

385 Responses

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  • Idiot Savant,

    I don't see why it should be a question of an embarrassment for the Police.

    What would you call it then when they spend a year on an investigation, tap people's phones, conduct covert surveillance, end it all with a series of dramatic armed raids - and then get told that they've got squat?

    Danyl is right - either way, they screwed up. Either they targetted innocent people, or their decision to view it as 'terrorism" rather than ordinary criminal activity led to them not being able to lay appropriate charges. And either way, its a failure of police leadership, for which heads should roll.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Ironically, far from being too loose, the TSA is, in the SG's opinion, pretty much impossible to secure a conviction with in regard to any domestic activity.

    We can probably then take a reasonable guess that the eventual response of parliament will be to ramp it up and make it easier, rather than tone it down or remove it.

    Truly sad.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I have a little sympathy for the police, who may have viewed this as a test case and an opportunity to try and exercise the new law.

    But only a little. Because the execution seems to have been completely bollocksed.

    I wonder if there wasn't a certain amount of sunk cost mentality going on - we've got all these tapes, we've spent all this time and effort, surely we can build a case out of this?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    "people with guns with anti-government ideas "
    Neil isn't this a definition of heartland National?
    I've never voted for Bill English but I'ld never call him a terrorist either - hell I like him.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    "Because the execution seems to have been completely bollocksed."

    Stephen it begs the question why the Police are engaged in antiterror actions which I think are the role of the SAS.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Another question for poor old Graeme, who ought to be getting some sort of compensation for being the PAS House Lawyer: would it still be possible to lay other charges? I'm thinking about conspiracy to commit a crime sort of thing. Because if I were a conscientious copper, and I thought I could nail someone on a more ordinary charge, I would, and I am interested that all we seem to be left with is firearms charges.

    Michael: you're torturing my inner pedant with that gross misuse of begging the question, and you know that torture violates her human rights. (My inner pedant is definitely modelled on my late mother).

    But in principle I'd much rather the police deal with domestic issues, and leave the Army for fighting foreigners. One of the things that gets right up my nose about the TSA is that we've bought into the hysterical Global War On Terror frame. If there's a local myth I'd like to foster it's that we are calm, skeptical and low-key, and consistent with those values I want to see the law applied at the minimal level that serves the public interest. Anyway, if people are upset about what happened in Ruatoki now, imagine if the SAS went in!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    My thought being that rather than a ramping up of Police powers from AOS call-outs as with the roaming axe murderer to full tactical anti-terror role is a big leap and that that leap to domestic warfare (which counteri-terror is) shud be handled by the SAS.

    It's another step removed from Policing to domestic warfare and so they will need a greater weight of evidence to proceed.

    I really don't see how the population of Ruatoki would tell the difference. The cops were in either Black or DPM same as the SAS.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Another question for poor old Graeme, who ought to be getting some sort of compensation for being the PAS House Lawyer ...

    I've sent him some whisky. It now seems it should have been more expensive whisky, but I've, um, opened all the expensive whisky ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18715 posts Report Reply

  • kowhai montgomery,

    I don't see why it should be a question of an embarrassment for the Police.

    How odd. Either the people charged were up to something or they weren't. If they were plotting something malicious the police failed to prosecute them for the appropriate crime (conspiracy to murder, say), and they now face only very minor charges. If they weren't plotting anything then the police have wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money on a snipe hunt while seriously damaging race-relations and embarrassing the government of the day. I don't see how this can be viewed as anything other than a catastrophe for the police.

    Thank god someone says what I want to say so I can go to bed.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Danyl is right - either way, they screwed up. Either they targetted innocent people, or their decision to view it as 'terrorism" rather than ordinary criminal activity led to them not being able to lay appropriate charges. And either way, its a failure of police leadership, for which heads should roll.

    Broad made this interesting statement in the media release:

    It was unfortunate but unavoidable that the 'terrorist' term became associated publicly with this case and the people connected with it before the Solicitor-General had made his decision. We had to advise those subject to search warrants that our searches and inquiries related to potential offences under both the Arms Act and the Terrorism Suppression Act.

    I haven't picked through it closely enough to see if he's right to say that it was the media/public that ran with the terror ball, rather than the police having anything to do with it.

    Because the Solicitor General has said that things have gone on and been planned that people will be very concerned about, but that there's a fault with the law which is preventing that being pursued under the TSA.

    Whether or not that is going to prove to be a fair couple of statements, and whether or not that message will get through properly, remains to be seen, but it is an alternative proposition to 'the police fucked up big'. The alternative is of course 'the law is an ass, and had it been properly written 12 people would have been charged under it'.

    I'm still going to want to see the actual story comes out. I'll make my judgements on what people have done by myself.

    My thought being that rather than a ramping up of Police powers from AOS call-outs as with the roaming axe murderer to full tactical anti-terror role is a big leap and that that leap to domestic warfare (which counteri-terror is) shud be handled by the SAS.

    Wow, that's the worst idea I've seen for a while. Because what we want instead of police officers who are experienced in dealing with people in difficult situations, often under stress and having to show restraint, is the SAS who are a bunch of highly trained killers.

    Yes, let's let the serious parts of the army loose on suspected criminals. Because that worked well in Fiji, where they beat up a guy when arresting them, as compared to NZ when... no one was physically hurt at all.

    There are reasons why lots of countries have laws against armies getting involved in domestic issues like this.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    I haven't picked through it closely enough to see if he's right to say that it was the media/public that ran with the terror ball, rather than the police having anything to do with it.

    The goddamn police were all over this like a rash. I mean, come on. Ignore the media, just look at what the police did. It started with dawn raids and locking down a town and involved harassing some pensioner, among other farcical activities.

    There will be nothing to any of this, like a whole lot of people have said all along. Just a bunch of people caught up in a beat up.

    It's kind of heartening how's it's all such a joke.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Stephen:

    would it still be possible to lay other charges?

    Sure - but they wouldn't be able to use evidence obtained under the search warrants (or the terror warrants which authorised the wiretaps and surveillance) to do it. Which may mean they have even less than squat.

    In oher words, thinking it was terrorism from the outset crippled their chance of building a case for a real crime.

    Kyle

    I haven't picked through it closely enough to see if he's right to say that it was the media/public that ran with the terror ball, rather than the police having anything to do with it.

    Well, only if you ignore the fact that the media were drip-fed the juicy details by - you guessed it - the police.

    I'm also wondering now whether they'll got for a final smear, by leaking everything to the media. Grossly improper, of course, but they've done it before (there's a notable case of an acquitted murderer I'm thinking of here...)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The goddamn police were all over this like a rash. I mean, come on. Ignore the media, just look at what the police did. It started with dawn raids and locking down a town and involved harassing some pensioner, among other farcical activities.

    That doesn't relate to the 'terror' story at all. If you're going to bag the police for starting the 'whole terrorist thing', then the question is, did they use that phrase or dump it in the media. Or did the media pick it up themselves or get it from elsewhere?

    Because what Broad indicated in his release, is that it was confirmed by the search warrants being made public by the suspects. Idiot Savant you seem to have a different story that I'd be keen to hear more of. Who started waving 'terrorist' around first?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    would it still be possible to lay other charges? I'm thinking about conspiracy to commit a crime sort of thing.

    Yes. They wouldn't be able to use evidence obtained under the interception warrants, however, and would have a tough time using evidence obtained with the search warrants. Surveillance - the video footage etc. could be used, as well as witness statements.

    Of course, it's also still possible to get more evidence and charge them under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

    I'm still holding out for treason, 'though.

    I've sent him some whisky. It now seems it should have been more expensive whisky, but I've, um, opened all the expensive whisky ...

    Fortunately, the only utility of that would be showing it off to people. It's my first bottle of whisky, it looks cool enough, and I doubt I have a palette advanced enough to tell the difference...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I don't see why it should be a question of an embarrassment for the Police.

    I think the only way it doesn't end up seriously embarrassing is if, the story comes out, and is bad enough that the public in general thinks "wow, how can these people have gotten away with that and only been charged with firearms offences?"

    If the story doesn't come out, or it isn't a bad enough story, then yes, the police will be the (unluckily so due to bad law?) ones looking stupid.

    It still comes down to the telling of the tale.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • blindjackdog,

    In fact, Pita Sharples is one of the few who haven't jumped the shark.

    It seemed to me that on Checkpoint he was simply weary with having to explain that this all wasn't about "law and order" and has more to do with a tradition of mistrust and totally grotesque displays of power.

    And the brilliance of it is that it doesn't actually matter how the evidence "comes out" because the results are all the same: the rednecks will see the native savagery they're inclined to see; the moderates will see the healthy triumph of democracy and the rule of law; and anyone with half a brain will see manipulation of prejudice aimed at complacent acceptance of the status quo. (Because, as has been amply demonstrated elsewhere, it's grossly inappropriate to talk about fascist tendencies until you actually have concentration camps and genocide, and advocating any kind of critique of the current version of reality is foolish, naive, paranoid, patronising, whatever.)

    And we'll all happily forget the pronouncement of guilt, BY THE PRIME MINISTER FFS, of those yet to face trial. (In a healthily functioning democracy that recognises the rule of law.)

    Grow up New Zealand. Get reflective. Repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Fuck rugby.

    Since Nov 2007 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    And we'll all happily forget the pronouncement of guilt, BY THE PRIME MINISTER FFS, of those yet to face trial. (In a healthily functioning democracy that recognises the rule of law.)

    Well, she was briefed by the SIS. And as we all know (Zaoui!), they always get it right.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    If you're going to bag the police for starting the 'whole terrorist thing', then the question is, did they use that phrase or dump it in the media.

    Silly me. It was the media all along who invoked the Terrorist Suppression Act to get the search warrants for the police to start this whole charade in the first place.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Silly me. It was the media all along who invoked the Terrorist Suppression Act to get the search warrants for the police to start this whole charade in the first place.

    And the media who made up lurid claims of IRA handbooks, napalm bombs, and conspiracies to murder George Bush, Helen Clark, and John Key...

    Get real. While journalists never reveal their sources, the only place these claims could have come from was the police.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    the rednecks will see the native savagery they're inclined to see; the moderates will see the healthy triumph of democracy and the rule of law; and anyone with half a brain will see manipulation of prejudice aimed at complacent acceptance of the status quo.

    Wow, I see all three. That makes me a redneck moderate with half a brain.

    Get real. While journalists never reveal their sources, the only place these claims could have come from was the police.

    Or the accused or their mates, or it could indeed be made up by journos. I'm still unsure, not ready to take a punt, could end up looking silly.

    I'm personally glad the TSA isn't being used. I can scarcely imagine how such an Act could be of any value over and above existing criminal law, without being in any way intimate with the actual Act. The ridiculousness of trying to separate terror out as a different class of crime is patently obvious. I really don't think it matters squat what the intentions of the people who knowingly commit a crime are, whether they are political, racial, financial or personal. Crimes are just crimes, regardless of motives. The pettiest of motives is no better or worse than the most grandiose. Having no motive at all doesn't change the criminality of a crime.

    Why did the cops ever have anything to do with it? It can only be to test out their new powers. For the purposes of public safety they've already met their goal by arresting the lads and taking their guns. And they've immediately found the limit of their powers, which is that a toothless set of laws (on account of being so fundamentally stupid) has robbed them of some evidence in court and given them no extra charges that can be laid. But it also gave them the evidence outside of court. I imagine they do strongly believe they've helped the public interest with this inadmissible evidence which convinced them, if no one else, that these lads were serious about using the guns illegally.

    Probably when the dust settles this one will be chalked up as not worthwhile to repeat. OK they probably scared some people off being terrorists. They also probably incited some people to it. They may have foiled some illegal activity, can't be sure, because that activity never happened. They've certainly come across badly, particularly from the extended remand of guys on eventually quite minor charges. The ninja suits definitely didn't go well. The actual grievances of the accused have received massive free coverage. Possibly several of the accused are feeling 'mission accomplished' about the whole thing. They may think differently from the inside of a prison cell later.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8318 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    For the purposes of public safety they've already met their goal by arresting the lads and taking their guns. . . . I imagine they do strongly believe they've helped the public interest with this inadmissible evidence which convinced them, if no one else, that these lads were serious about using the guns illegally.

    Meanwhile, somewhere other than Planet Lad, a female filmmaker was among those arrested (and later released), not to mention a considerable number of females whose rights were pointlessly violated in the co-ordinated publicity stunt of nationwide raids.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3385 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    a female filmmaker was among those arrested (and later released), not to mention a considerable number of females whose rights were pointlessly violated in the co-ordinated publicity stunt of nationwide raids.

    it does sound a bit like a poorly conceived stunt, doesn't it?

    "testing a law" by locking up 17 people and bandying about labels of <strike>rebellion</strike> <strike>sedition</strike> <strike>fascism</strike> <strike>communism</strike> i mean, "terrorism" is pretty poor showing by our own keystone cops.

    proving you have an insufficient law by putting harmless dissenters in remand for a month is hardly justifiable. in fact, it's outright detestable.

    those who end up with firearms charges sticking might be another matter altogether, but who actually thinks that all 16 currently in slammer were sufficient threat to the public to be jailed?

    JAILED, not just charged or hassled, JAILED. it's not exactly a fucking picnic in there.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I haven't picked through it closely enough to see if he's right to say that it was the media/public that ran with the terror ball, rather than the police having anything to do with it.

    Broad covered that this morning on Morning Report. I agreed with what he had to say. The Police did not emphasise the terror charges aspect - that was the media and people like Harawira.

    Broad also said what I had suspect - the Police had good reason these people were planning political violence and acted to prevent that happening. That they now will only face fire arms related charges is lucky for them and us.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    An interesting point from Collins yesterday.

    It seems police sought to use the TSA because they used it as the basis for many of their interception warrants. Collins did say they looked but there was no other statute that would have allowed them the approach they took.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    ok, anger abated somewhat.

    a question that's been irking me. what language were the transcripts used by the police in?

    were they te reo or english?

    it raises a couple of issues. first of all, translations are never an entirely accurate picture of a conversation. second of all, these conversations would have occurred in a small town/community where most conversation is kanohi ki te kanohi.

    surely the recorded conversations are only parts of a larger conversation? which leaves a lot of scope for bad interpretation.

    as much as it annoys me. i'm believing meurant more and more.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

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