But wouldn't it be prudent to wait a week or two and actually find out what changes have been made to it
Try "hour or two" (or maybe day, at the most). While the bill has a report-back date of January 25, there's a strong convention that you don't dick around with electoral law in election year, so it has to be done and dusted by the end of the year. According to the sitting programme, there are three sitting weeks left until the House rises. The bill will need to lie on the table for one of those weeks following the select committee reportback, and I expect the committee stage to take another as National and ACT use every trick in the book to disrupt the passage of legislation (note, not oppose; disrupt. They won't be trying to make arguments, because they have none; rather, they'll be trying to make the House unmanageable to protect their fat donoros and fat wallet - just as they tried to do over the ERB back in 1999). A day for 2R and a day for 3R, and if it doesn't come out today, they'll be cutting it very fine.
Unless, of course, they use urgency...
My understanding that the TSA came into it because it was the only law they could apply for the interception warrants under.
Your understanding would be wrong. The police could have applied for an interception warrant if they suspected that someone was about to commit a "serious violent offence" (like, say, killing someone, or blowing something up). But if they'd done that, they would have been unable to bludgeon the judge with the T-word (and the fear of being publicly named as the guy who refused a warrant if anything bad did happen) into granting it.
Basically, the police chose which law to pursue this under. They made their own bed. Now they get to sleep in it.
Not without a sphincter pinching dread. They will be on lists for life now.
And somehow, I don't think the police will be paying any compensation for that. Ruin people's lives, walk away laughing - it's OK if you wear a uniform.
What Broad said was that their advice was that the intent of the law appeared to want to nip such planning in the bud before they got to the specific planning/conspiracy stage
Then their advice was simply wrong.
I've been going through Hansard and Select Committee reports for the past hour looking for where they got this strange idea that the bill provided a framework for "early intervention", and I just can't see it anywhere. Contra Broad, there's no mention of it in the purpose of the law, no mention in the Parliamentary debates, and no mention in the select committee reports. Therefore, there was no Parliamentary intent for any such thing.
Question: is there only an offence of "conspiracy to murder" or can one be convicted of planning to cause injury or damage?
Yes, there is. And all it requires is an agreement (which need to be explicit) to commit a specific crime.
But according to Howard Broad on Morning Report this morning, despite a year of wiretaps and surveillance, the police didn't even have that.
Naturally, he now wants to lower the evidentiary bar, to allow the police to arrest, prosecute, and imprison anyone they don't like. And that's not something we should tolerate.
On Nine to Noon this morning Broad said that the interception warrants were granted by the High Court Judge under both the TSA and the Crimes Act. I'm not sure on the legal ins and outs of that, whether it means some types of surveillance were under the TSA and some under the Crimes Act.
No, it means that the warrants were granted under the crimes act to investigate offences from the TSA.
(The TSA did however insert the terrorism warrant section into the Crimes Act)
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.
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.
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.