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Speaker: Pt 2: Terrorism Charges -- What's Involved

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    I had to read parts of that about three times to get my head around it. Interesting!

    Can I ask - what's the advantage of laying charges under this Act? Lets say hypothetically, the plot was to kill someone. Conspiracy to commit murder already exists. What advantage would there be in charging someone using this act? Are the penalties harsher? Easier convictions?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Not this time though. The cops will have been very careful. Before listing the Terrorism Suppression Act on an application for a warrant, advice will have been sought not just from legal advisers, but senior lawyers at national headquarters, independent crown prosecutors, and crown counsel. They will have dissected the evidence, and the law.

    The trouble with this argument is that its really not in the best interests of the various counsels involved to hamstring the police at this stage. If, say, the crown counsel decided their evidence wasn't robust enough and put the kibosh on the operation, and six weeks later an horrific attack occurred then the wrath of the nation, media and politicians would quickly descend on whatever group of lawyers made that call.

    On the other hand, if it does transpire that our police and intelligence services have embarked on a gigantic boys adventure then blame will fall heavily on them, not the lawyers and judges that signed off on their various enterprises.

    Do judges and senior lawyers think like that? I've no doubt some do - others might have put their faith in the various other actors in the drama ('whom am I to question an operation that's already been signed off by Crown Counsel?') Large groups of very smart people can and do make astoundingly silly decisions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The trouble with this argument is that its really not in the best interests of the various counsels involved to hamstring the police at this stage. If, say, the crown counsel decided their evidence wasn't robust enough and put the kibosh on the operation, and six weeks later an horrific attack occurred then the wrath of the nation, media and politicians would quickly descend on whatever group of lawyers made that call.

    I'd imagine the legal call was whether to include the TSA on the warrant, or just leave it with other acts. The warrants were going to be served either way, it's just how many acts were listed on them. So I'm not sure the 'horrific attack' would have happened either way.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I had to read parts of that about three times to get my head around it

    Well I didn't do a very good job then did I? :-)

    Conspiracy to murder carries a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment, participation in a terrorist organisation 14 years', but I doubt that's the reason.

    Conspiracy, whilst one of the easiest crimes to commit is notoriously hard to prove. If TQ was to be involved in separate attacks (the Greenies attack something, the Peace Activists something else, etc.) proving an overall conspiracy might be difficult - you might miss people involved in important behind-the-scenes assistance/command and control without enough knowledge or involvement in any of the specific targets for a conspiracy charge to stick.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'd imagine the legal call was whether to include the TSA on the warrant, or just leave it with other acts.

    I'm pretty sure Broad has actually said they took the kind of legal advice Graeme has mentioned before including the TSA charges.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18665 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    The facts, when the come out, will be important: what if anything was planned in Tame's wananga?

    and if the answer is not "nothing", how long before the phrase "state-sponsored terrorism" appears?

    But seriously,

    What recourse does anyone have for getting their group de-listed as a terrorist organisation?

    One more: So, it's not terrorism if one "unduly compel[s] or to force[s] a domestic organisation to do or abstain from doing any act"?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Is the act of planning a terrorist act done with the intention of inducing terror or compelling government action? Arguably not – a terrorist act, lets say the assassination of a politician to secure a legislative change – is obviously done with the intention of compelling government action or inducing terror, but is practising the attempt or planning the attempt also done with that intention? How can the secret amassing of terrorist weapons or the creation of plans compel or induce anything?

    It would be regrettable if a judge was to interpret the TSA so as to render its planning and attempts provisions inoperative. It would be assinine to have a law that required police to wait until an actual attack (as opposed to a s.25 "terrorist act") was carried out before successfully prosecuting.

    Not that there necessarily are any terrorism-related offences in this case, of course. Best to wait and see I think. But for the avoidance of doubt... planning to kill people is not okay.

    Since Nov 2006 • 557 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    What recourse does anyone have for getting their group de-listed as a terrorist organisation?

    *They can request the PM to revoke the designation;
    *They can wait for three years until it is due to expire and seek to be heard in the High Court on the application that it be extended; or
    *They can seek judicial review.

    it's not terrorism if one "unduly compel[s] or to force[s] a domestic organisation to do or abstain from doing any act"?

    Unless that domestic organisation is the Government, or the act also involves terrorising civilians, then yes.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Unless that domestic organisation is the Government, or the act also involves terrorising civilians, then yes.

    So if your organisation blows up McDonald's stores (after hours with noone in them) to protest their suppliers' overfishing of Hoki stocks - that's terrorism. But if they do the same to local fish & chip shops, that ain't?
    Or does the definition of 'international organisation' not include corporates?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 840 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I'd note that McDonald's New Zealand is incorporated in New Zealand, and that individual stores are franchises. And that even obliterating an entire Macca's probably wouldn't constitute damage to major infrastructure (and probably wouldn't - if empty - involve danger to life or serious danger to health).

    But even if it did, you'd still have section 4 of the TSA:

    **international organisation** means any organisation of States or Governments of States, or any organ or agency of any organisation of that kind

    It's basically the the EU or the UN, or the WHO, etc.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Thanks for clearing that up, Graeme.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Thanks for the articles Graeme.

    Could the main intent of the warrants and evidence collection be to have Tuhoe, Unite, Save Happy Valley, and other groups added to the terrorist list?

    OK, that sounds monstrously stupid, fair enough, but if our media had been a little more credulous it might have looked more likely to come about. The British and American lot seem pretty happy to parrot such things without asking the hard questions, could be that was expected here.
    It just seems to me like that's the only thing that could come about from the warrants, and those groups have certainly annoyed the police and various other influential people in recent times.

    "We could have done something if only the amendments had already been in place" is bound to be said at some stage too, at least by NZF.

    Since Nov 2006 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    Thanks for the articles Graeme, good stuff.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Jacob Powell,

    My thanks also Graeme, your articles have been enlightening. I hope more people get to read clear and informed pieces on this topic before they join an ill-informed mob spouting unhelpful opinions.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    Graeme firstly thanks for these articles they have been most enlightening. You say at the end that you think chrages of treason might have been appropriate. I find that interesting and if they intended to overthrow the govt that would be reasonable. Under the treason provisions what has to be proven? for eg would 'bishop' Tamaki's stated aim of turning NZ into a theocracy count? or does he get off because he aimed to achieve this through the ballot box?

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I mentioned treason because there were suggestions that someone had said they were going to "declare war on New Zealand". New Zealand citizens commit treason (you have to be a New Zealand citizen to commit treason) if they levy war against New Zealand (and also commit treason if they conspire to to do it).

    I'm pretty sure Bishop Tamaki's behaviour wasn't treasonous, although arguably it may have been seditious. Section 73 of the Crimes Act has this to say:

    Every one owing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand commits treason who, within or outside New Zealand,—
    (a) Kills or wounds or does grievous bodily harm to Her Majesty the Queen, or imprisons or restrains her; or
    (b) Levies war against New Zealand; or
    (c) Assists an enemy at war with New Zealand, or any armed forces against which New Zealand forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between New Zealand and any other country; or
    (d) Incites or assists any person with force to invade New Zealand; or
    (e) Uses force for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of New Zealand; or
    (f) Conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in this section.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Graeme, will this have to be a jury trial if terrorism charges are served?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    steven - yes. Any trial for a breach of the terrorism Suppression Act has to be a jury trial (neither side has the option).

    Moreover, the trial would have to occur in the High Court.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Thanks Graeme

    There is a lot of trust for the cops to have dotted the i & crossed the t.
    But then the raid in Christchurch no warrent but wanted to pursue a raid anyway & I do want to nail the TV3 conspiracy for the early morning raid. Although TV3 are claiming other things - is that just protecting their (police) sources?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • dubmugga,

    If I was Tame's Lawyers, I'd say he was putting a perfomance art theatre troupe together for special Maori celebrations. A kind of dramatically licensed period piece complete with old guns and flags and mock battles and shit.

    the back of your mind • Since Nov 2006 • 257 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Michael - my understanding of the Christchurch raid was that police were looking for a person, rather than searching for evidence. You don't need a warrant to knock on someone's door and ask if Tame is there.

    I do think TV3 were just lucky. The TV3 offices are nearby and TV3 have said a cameraman heading to work notice a bunch of cops obviously heading somewhere and followed them. If it were a police source, they'd almost certainly have had a reporter there too, not least because it's reporters who have police sources, not cameramen.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    I'd say he was putting a perfomance art theatre troupe together for special Maori celebrations

    Like this wedding

    Shot gun wedding
    10:32am 5 December 2003


    Traffic was stopped on Christchurch this morning and armed police called out as a `shot gun wedding� took place in the old stock yards off Deans Avenue.

    Over ten police units blocked traffic while armed police observed and called out a group of people believed to have a shot gun were observed going into the derelict area by members of the public.

    It was discovered to be a wedding party photo shoot with an imitation firearm as part of the props.

    The whole incident took 30 minutes from 9.35am and blocked off a busy part of Christchurch.

    Senior Sergeant Kelvin BURGESS says people should have more sense and take care when using imitation firearms.

    "At the least advise Police of what you are doing. We�ll still have to check it out but at least it won�t be a surprise to us."

    We presume the wedding is still taking place.


    Graeme - The cops pushed it entering the property & looking around the back without a warrent.
    Do you have to answer a knock at the door from the police?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    If I was Tame's Lawyers, I'd say he was putting a perfomance art theatre troupe together for special Maori celebrations. A kind of dramatically licensed period piece complete with old guns and flags and mock battles and shit.

    Like the traditional period grenade launcher he was trying to purchase?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 840 posts Report Reply

  • dubmugga,

    Of course...

    ..specially modified to shoot kumara over large distances. A kind of power planting device for those steeped Urewera terraces.

    NEXT...

    the back of your mind • Since Nov 2006 • 257 posts Report Reply

  • dubmugga,

    If the elite terrorist surveillance squad or whatever they are called can intercept and believe txt messages about assasination and revolution sent by some sth auckland hoodrat or a frustrated fogey vet then sure they'll buy performance art and specially modified weapons to plant kumara if told by a QC.

    the back of your mind • Since Nov 2006 • 257 posts Report Reply

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