31 October 2008
"Criminal gang" charges ludicrous
The police decision to lay charges of participating in a criminal gang against five of the Urewera arrestees is
ludicrous. Having failed to brand these activists as terrorists the police now want to try to brand them as criminals.
Why lay these charges more than a year after the arrests? Rather than being serious about these charges it seems to be
an attempt to shift the whole case to the High Court rather than have it heard in the District Court. It seems the
police will leave no stone unturned in trying to make the case look more serious than it is and in the process to
salvage some credibility from the hopeless mess they have got themselves into.
In a bare-faced abuse of the legal process the police also intend to relay charges dismissed at depositions. This is
desperate stuff indeed.
The police have been on a hiding to nothing since their dramatic "anti-terror" raids on October 15th last year seized of
two pig hunting rifles. Their case is based on a lot of hot air and stupid conversations. Were those charged not
political activists the police would have issued warnings for technical breaches of firearms laws rather that attempt
the Keystone Cops prosecutions.
For the police this is a "double or nothing" gamble.
Since their dramatic police conference telling the country how they had thwarted terrorist activity the police case has
unravelled rapidly. The Solicitor General found there was insufficient evidence to lay charges under the Terrorism
Suppression Act and the police case has rapidly unravelled since then.
The waste of public resources is already in the millions and will be in the tens of millions before it is over.
GPJA continues to urge
· That the charges be dropped
· That the so-called anti-terror legislation be abandoned