Urewera police job a disgrace
22 March 2012
“It is revealing and disturbing that Inspector Bruce Good, head of the Urewera raids investigation said his police
officers acted ‘professionally,’ and that if he were to do the case over, he wouldn’t do anything differently” said
Annette Sykes, Urewera raids lawyer.
“We do not consider ‘professional policing’ that which includes the systematic violation of the criminal law and Human
Rights Act. The Supreme Court said in its ruling on the illegal police video evidence used in the Urewera 4 trial that:
The breach of s 21 entailed in the covert surveillance undertaken without lawful authority must be regarded as extremely
serious when assessed against the rights breached. Covert surveillance is a substantial breach of the right to be let
I regard it as a significantly exacerbating factor that the film surveillance was undertaken deliberately without legal
authority, in the knowledge that there was no lawful investigatory technique available to be used.
In circumstances where the police officer in charge of the inquiry knew that there was no authority to be obtained for
such filmed surveillance, the deliberate unlawfulness of the police conduct in the covert filming, maintained over many
entries and over a period of some 10 months, is destructive of an effective and credible system of justice.' (Chief Justice Sian Elias, Paragraphs 72 & 73 Supreme Court Decision 125 Hamed v. Queen)
“The criminal offending of the police has been determined to be more serious than any Arms Act offences of the people
who were covertly filmed at the so-called ‘camps’—that is why the charges against 13 people were dropped last year. Now
that the crown has totally failed to sell their ‘criminal gang’ story to a jury, we demand that all of the firearms
convictions against Tame Iti, Rangi Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey be thrown out immediately.
“The raids in Ruatoki on 15 October 2007 included balaclava-clad armed officers blockading the only entry and exit to
the village, searching and photographing every person who passed. This blockade was setup on the ‘Confiscation Line’—a
painted line on the tarmac that marks the boundary of the land illegally confiscated from Tuhoe by the Crown in 1866.
Those who refused or resisted were arrested. An armed officer boarded a children's school bus, and other officers held a
women and her three children hostage in their shed for approximately 9 hours. This is what the New Zealand police call
“The outcome of these firearms charges must be consistent with the other 13 whose charges have been dismissed. The
police need to be held to account for this travesty,” concluded Ms Sykes.
Annette Sykes acted for several of the defendants involved in the Urewera case from the day the raids happened until
late 2011 when charges were dropped against 13 people. Along with Dr Rodney Harrison, she argued against the
admissibility of the video evidence in the Supreme Court in May of 2011 that resulted in the judgment of Sept 2011