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.
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...)
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.
Graeme: that's a very interesting question.
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.
Which is unsurprising given that it was (according to Parliament when it was originally being debated) never intended to be used against such groups.
Domestic "terrorists" plotting or carrying ot murders and bombings should be prosecuted under ordinary criminal law. For a start, it actually works. Secondly, the precedents and safeguards are well understood. but finally, it doesn't dignify them, or run the risk of politicised prosecutions.
He's just given a very strong indication on Checkpoint that an apology -- to "the innocent people caught up" in the Ruatoki raids -- will be forthcoming, and that there are discussions with that community in progress.
Sorry, I'm watching Parliament (and the unseemly sight of politicians pretending that nothing is wrong, and smearing those who object to the erosion of our civil liberties as alies of terrorists) rather than listening to national Radio.
Heh. Keith Locke: "if the government designated international groups as terrorists on the objective basis of how many people they have killed or maimed with explosives, and how many people they have kidnapped and held for years... the first group they would designate would be the United States".
Howard Broad: "Now is not the time to issue a general apology"
Lovely. So they smear people as terorists on insufficient evidence, then refuse to apologise in any way for it. And they wonder why people have a low opinion of the police.
Cullen backs the police. So much for accountability.
Well, they can't have one until Tuesday - the Standing Orders would not permit it. I suppose they can use the third reading of the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill. Winston certainly is.
I just figured that out. Maybe they'll get one on Tuesday.
I'm now waiting for National to follow up on its threat last week that the police will be held accountable as they've got this wrong.
I assume they can still choose to add other charges?
Only if they have sufficient evidence. And most of their "evidence" will now be entirely inadmissible.
By pursuing 'terrorism", the police seem to have forfeited any chance of prosecuting for conspiracy to murder. So, even if their fears were real (rather than the paranoia of an insular, judgemental police culture), by viewing it as "terrorism" rather than as ordinary crime, and going all gung-ho and ninja-suit, they've blown it.
As I said, I want heads. On pikes. It's a fiasco whichever way you look at it.
Parliament has just started debating the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill. Winston Peters says that its "a day for recanting"... but not from his side.
I'd say the concerns of those opposing prosecution were realised: the police simply didn't have a case.