THIS JUST IN

385 Responses

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  • Idiot Savant,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Meanwhile, two parties (the Greens and Maori party?) have reportedly requested an urgent debate on the matter.

    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.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Sh!t I'm happy for those accused and others put through bloody hell over this.

    Graeme - What's the chance of a Royal Commission into this as I think it's the only thing that might help to clear the air?

    Russell - I'm happy for NZ as a whole that we can take heart no-ones going against the wall any time soon.
    As for the firearms charges I'll wait for the game to be played through. Tame Itis last firearms charge was IMHO a bad joke & the successful appeal took years.

    So what are the charges now?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Cullen backs the police. So much for accountability.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    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.

    Calm down I/S. 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.

    I think it's fair enough that he wants to say what's going to be said in an orderly fashion, with those involved informed in advance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It looks like the big loser is the TSA itself -- "incoherent" is quite a strong word for a senior law officer to use -- and Michael Cullen has already said the government will follow his recommendation and refer it to the Law Commission for a thorough review.

    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.

    I/S is right: the cops would seem to have wrecked their chances of bringing more serious charges. I'd love to know what their legal advice was, from whom, and how it differed from the SG's view.

    Im sure lots of people will now declare there was nothing to ever be worried about, but the SG seems to have been at pains to say there was, and that the police had "put an end to disturbing activities".

    The cops have just fucked it, and most of their evidence along with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    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.

    Oh good.

    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".

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    The Solictor General did a good job - even though he muttered something vaguely positive about the police while denying their charges.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Margaret B,

    If the AG has said that the Govt is going to refer the TSA to the Law Commission for a thorough review then would it not make sense to withdraw the Amendment Act that is being debated as I type??

    Since Oct 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Graeme,
    How will this affect bail arrangements on the firearms charges?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pita Sharples has just been on the radio complaining about the potentially prejudicial effect of the phrase "disturbing activities", and describing it as loose talk.

    He has a point, but he'd be on stronger ground if a couple of his own MPs hadn't vented so thoroughly with their own characterisations of the case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and before I go and have a glass of wine, I'm quite relieved that my tip was correct. You always risk looking like a prat when you run with one of those ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    a glass of wine

    Not whisky?

    Now, we're told the terrorism-related evidence won't be made public, and we'll never now how close we came...

    When someone is charged with an offence, their counsel will make an OIA/Privacy Act request for everything the cops have - they get it, and can then use it in the defence. There is nothing to stop the Uruwera 16 making those same requests in the absences of anti-terror charges, and no reason why the police could refuse to give it to them. Will they? And how do they feel about making it all public?

    Maybe Scoop could do it for them, and get the individual's permission to the release of personal information...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Graeme: that's a very interesting question.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    ...and a substantial embarrassment for the New Zealand Police?

    I don't see why it should be a question of an embarrassment for the Police. They presented a case and the Solicitor General decided otherwise. On the face of it - people with guns with anti-government ideas - does look like a matter for the TSA.

    The Solicitor General does say -

    "The key reason I am not prepared to authorise prosecutions under the act is there is insufficient evidence to establish to the very high standard required that a group was preparing a terrorist act," Mr Collins said.

    He said his decision was not a criticism of the police who had no doubt "put an end to disturbing activities".

    That's "insufficient evidence" to meet a high standard, not "no" evidence.

    I'm quite happy that the Police take on armed groups whatever their politics.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    Russell, I don't think Pita Sharples' was arguing that we should not talk about the details of the case. I'm sure he wants as much of it in the public domain as possible (where it can be politicised). He was criticising Collins for breaking the rules as Collins himself had stated them.

    Again you skirt the central issues: Sharples' statements were part of his criticism of Collins praise for the police, which Sharples objected to, partly because the police action cut across years of negotiated Police-Maori liaison protocols and officers trained for this. Again the Maori and the Crown (agent) negotiate and agree, but when it suits them the Crown just chuck it all out and do what they want (that's my sentence, not Sharples' and yes, I'm pissed off).

    Also, Sharples pointed out that the reputations of Tuhoe and Maori (let alone NZ) have been seriously damaged as a consequence of this. The examples he gave of overseas media sensationalising the Maori terrorist threat were astounding.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Margaret B,

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm assuming that the police evidence put to the SG hasn't suffered any scrutiny from defence counsel?

    Since Oct 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    NM: And I am very very happy that the standard for bring charges of Terrorism is high. It should remain so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    MB: Mostly not, and that which has is under suppression orders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Sharples pointed out that the reputations of Tuhoe and Maori (let alone NZ) have been seriously damaged as a consequence of this. The examples he gave of overseas media sensationalising the Maori terrorist threat were astounding.

    Nice post Sara. Characterising Sharples as having 'jumped the shark' during this whole now-seen-to-be-largely-farcical beat-up is manifestly unfair. I can understand something of the guy's sense of betrayal and frustration.
    If anyone's done a fonzie in all of this, it's Clark.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3326 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    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.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 895 posts Report Reply

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