Supreme Court suppresses 'terror raids' evidence
Tue, 03 May 2011 6:37a.m.
The Supreme Court has suppressed any reporting of the arguments it is hearing today and tomorrow on behalf of 12 of the accused in the so-called Urewera "terror raids" centred on the eastern Bay of Plenty four years ago.
Latest legal action comes after the Court of Appeal last month upheld a High Court ruling denying most of the accused a jury trial.
They are due to be tried before a judge alone at Auckland later this month.
The trials are expected to last up to three months.
A leaked diplomatic cable shows the United States was deeply concerned with "inherent weaknesses" in New Zealand's terror laws following the decision not to prosecute under them after the raids.
The November 2007 cable, released online by whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks last week, shows the decision not to prosecute the 17 people arrested in the October 2007 raids under the Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA) was met with alarm at the US embassy in Wellington.
"In the post-9/11 world, one would expect that New Zealand would have an adequate law to deal with foreign as well as domestic terrorism - it does not," the then US ambassador, William McCormick, said.
The cable noted the TSA was not designed to apply to domestic terrorism, but added that "one wonders if it would have applied to foreign terrorists plotting much the same activities".
Mr McCormick said the "inherent weaknesses" of the law highlighted that the Labour government and its support partners - "many of whom are veterans of Vietnam War-era street protests" - were uncomfortable with any laws that might clamp down on freedom of expression.
The cable expressed hope that the Law Commission's now-stalled review of the terror laws would strike a balance that would "find a way to preserve peaceful political dissent and civil liberties without leaving the country vulnerable to those - foreign or domestic - who would do it harm".
The commission's review has been delayed, partly because firearms charges for those arrested in the police raids are ongoing.
The cable also noted that the embassy had been told by New Zealand police that it expected those facing the firearms charges to "escape incarceration", and were instead likely to pay only a fine.
It said the police raids had "jolted New Zealand" and described Solicitor-General David Collins' decision not to prosecute under the terror law as "a landmark decision".
Later cables show the embassy in Wellington continued to follow the outcome of the police raids with interest.
A December 2008 cable noted the acquittal of one of the 17 people initially arrested in the raids, and the contempt trial against Fairfax Media after the Dominion Post published extracts from transcripts relating to the raids.
The Supreme Court is today hearing an application from some of the Urewera accused to be given leave to appeal against a High Court decision to deny them a jury trial.
There are now 18 defendants, 15 of whom are due to defend charges under the Arms Act at a trial in Auckland beginning on May 30.
Five of them will also defend charges of participating in an organised criminal group.
The other three also face firearms charges but their trial will be held separately.
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24/09/2011 2:10:25 p.m.
Mike Grigg wrote:
I do not believe this law should not be rushed .
The Interpetaion Act when making law what is the circumstance .
The circumstance is the supreme court can bring a conviction because they do not have the legislation to bring a conviction in using video conviction .
Or should the circumstance be it was a police operation that started off as Terrosit Operation that lead to criminal charges .
If the government is looking at legislation should it not be looking at the terroist legislation because it is debateable the circumstance this legistion is being changed is about terror that went wrong .
What is concerning is it is the police Association who are calling for the changes when all of the people involved have not been put before the Supreme Court .
What we talking about is the police role who is to investigate crime that could affect evidence in court , it is the crown law office job to prosucute .
This could be very dangerous which may affect the Evidence Act or the way evidence is given
One the concerns that I comes out this I watch TV progams like Police 10/7 and crime watch these have used video survillance to help catch criminals so should the debate be slowed down and legislation not rushed .
Or should video surviellance being going out with reallity TV .
I believe a not a information has been given out to have proper balanced debate on this issue as the Supreme Court has surpressed information on this and right so to give the others a fair hearing but i do not believe we getting fair and affective representation and is the democtatic procedure really working .
The next debate will be that maori and low income will have to go to court to get Equity .
The police did handle the young mam with Aspergers Syndrome in Chritchurch to well who was to alleged to be the light bulb looter so a look at police preformance
7/07/2011 4:04:40 p.m.
Once maturity strikes you, you’ll find stereo-typing is for children. Me te whakaaro nui.
3/05/2011 5:42:20 p.m.
Ricardo is right, there were - and are - idiots. But I wish that they were prosecuted to discourage some brighter trouble-makers from taking heart at the PC dithering.
That being said, I also agree with the other posters. This is our country, thanks. We are of course interested to hear what you have to say, but we will decide.
3/05/2011 3:30:06 p.m.
They were idiots, not terrorists, a subtle difference the Americans don't or won't understand.
3/05/2011 12:10:37 p.m.
Miss Marple wrote:
The last thing we want is the US dictating to us with its bullying tactics.
Look at the state of the countries where they have intervened before!
If they had a humane foreign policy they wouldn't have so enemies in the world,
and terrorists would not be a target for terrorists.
How about they turn their armaments into scrap and send their army to work creating community gardens for their poor - about 40% of their population, I believe.
Beware if a Brash-Key partnership is returned at the next election!
There will be nuke warships in our ports galore by lunch-time.
3/05/2011 11:29:21 a.m.
Get Your Hands Off America, please wrote:
Can we please stop letting the world police tell us what to do, I thought we had democracy here but now we bend over for any request the American Agenda throws at us.
How about we ban lobbyists and special interest groups national and international from getting their way with OUR government. It's about time our politicians stood up for us, their constituents.
OUR government should tell the truth and grow a backbone finally as there's none to be seen in the current one.
3/05/2011 10:12:21 a.m.
Well NZ doesn't have terrorist problems like the USA or England or Germany or Russia, we are a country so far from the wars of others that it really has nothing to do with us, yet the super powers of the world keep forcing our Government to send our troops into battle with a "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" sort of feel to it. NZ is the safest place on the planet and I reckon even terrorist come here for a break from the wars. In fact people from war ravaged countries like Afgans and Iraqies have come here to escape the wars and live a free and peaceful life. Ok so there was the attack on the Rainbow Warrior by the French but that was nearly 25 years ago and now France is one of the good guys so in reality, besides a healthy rivalry with our good mates in Australia...We have no enemies, so why are we fighting wars?
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