is a principal of specialist Wellington law firm Franks
(Commercial & Public Law) and a former Member of the
New Zealand Parliament.
Skip to make comment
Skip to read comments
sentencing of Urewera
was a good day for New Zealand. Justice Hansen
sentencing the Urewera four was having none of what he called
their “utterly implausible” excuses. Well done,
police and prosecutors.
But a wider dividend goes well past the four. So called
“peace activists” will not rest easier. Their cover is permanently
blown by the terrorism evidence even though it could not be
used. They know the police know who they are and what they
mean by “peace”.
A few will some day be grateful they were stopped
before the ‘game’ metastasised into something dreadful and
lives were ruined or lost, including their own.
Even if our “terrorists” were more “Dad’s Army” than
Baader Meinhof or Red Brigades, some at least could have
become more dangerous. Training camps sift out a hard
core from the wannabes. Standard terrorist modus operandi is
to process lots of amiable recruits and naive fellow
travellers, searching for that nugget – the person willing
to kill and be killed for the cause. Being inept is not
Still, we'll now be treated to ‘useful idiot’
solidarity and more public money wasted on appeals.
The defendants have been treated with great fairness and
generosity by the New Zealand legal system:
Crown unilaterally dropped charges (on a legal
court suppression withheld damning phone
interceptions and recorded conversations in buildings and
were able to avoid answering or accounting for themselves
in any way,
could make excuses late and then only via unsworn
propositions advanced by their lawyers.
jury whilst apparently not accepting those excuses (or it
would have had to acquit on the Arms Act charges as well)
nevertheless could not reach a verdict on the more serious
Crown decision not to retry; and
this funded by $millions in public legal aid.
is no moral victory for the offenders and their dupes.
Refusing to account for yourself, whilst having your lawyers
put forward hilarious explanations of innocence and fighting
strenuously to suppress contrary evidence is not a heroic
stance. That is just busy lawyers exploiting an
accommodating legal system.
And the raids? Much is made of
"proportionality". Only judges from safe leafy
suburbs could invent a doctrine of proportionality in dealing
with violence. Standard learning in the field shows that
violence is least likely in the face of the most
disproportionality. It is when force is thought to be
balanced, or possibly impotent, that violence becomes
And race had nothing to do with it. Dozens of armed police
stormed Dotcom’s castle. Sobered by the Jan Molenaar police
killing and siege, it is time to drop the nonsense about Tuhoe
being singled out for overbearing treatment. Given the
evidence they had, the police had no choice.
What evidence? Well, the suppressed evidence.
Suppression does not mean it does not exist, or that it
was unreliable. Fairfax media bravely published some of
it and was prosecuted for contempt for that. Whilst some
video footage was eventually used, there was a raft of phone
recordings, taped conversations in buildings and cars which
was not. Once the terrorism charges were dropped, without
other serious charges this interception evidence could
not be used and was vigorously suppressed by the courts.
There have been claims that the suppressed evidence just shows
silly people doing naïve things. Just Pub talk.
Killing John Key with a cow.
The useful idiots seem to be banking on a vast collective
amnesia. But too many people have seen the evidence,
including retained copies of the excerpts published by the
Post. Though expunged from the public record in New
Zealand, it cannot be removed from the international internet.
In this case it will be just too laughable for the useful
ones to maintain a critical mass of mainstream media
belief that the arrested people just spent months playing hide
and seek and discussing Maori medicine.
The intercepted conversations are
similar to those recorded by police in “Operation
Pendennis” in Australia the year before, which resulted in
the arrest and conviction of a group of Islamic terrorists and
wannabe terrorists. They had been planning
to cause considerable loss of life. Some confessed or entered
guilty pleas. In both cases, much of the intercepted
talk is silly, mundane, over excited or boastful.
In Australia the judge described the antics as ‘keystone
cops” and in one instance the trainees actually opened fire
with their new rifles before getting out of their car.
There was similar sinister material in both cases.
All of us, including the would-be terrorists, can sleep easier
because some rough men were discourteous early one
morning four years ago
Skip to top |
will be published on the READERS FORUM. To view
To comment go to
letters to editor
Skip to top |