EDITOR’S NOTE: Following are two email reports circulating on the Internet today concerning policing of Kaikohe court appearances of protestors against the planned prison at Ngawha.
Subject: Re: today Ngawha Protests / Wellington report
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I'm afraid it's nasty business at Kaikohe. A couple of police persued and set upon a small young Maori who was on the footpath heading for his car and minding his own business, at the end of the day. A wahine rangatahi approached to rescue Patariki (who has a medical condition which means his head must be protected) when she too was set upon and violently assaulted by several police.
All day police had obstructed the processes of justice by barring access to the court. Supporters and whanau were forced to remain outside the building for hours in the pouring rain. Sick kaumatua and Kuia who needed to use the toilet were told by police that the judge had ordered the gatekeeping. When people were called in to appear before the judge, police blocking the doors refused entry. Denied admittance those charged were then subjected to interrogation by police gate keepers who then grudgingly granted them restricted entry into the foyer area only. Again the cross-examination and intimidation persisted at the doors to the court room itself. The judge had had no idea why those charged were not appearing when called or why those who had made it through the barage of intimidation were rather upset.
The court entry was blocked by an intimidating line of approx 50 batten tapping police at the doors to the court. While those charged, including sick kuia and kaumatua, were forced to stand out side and wait in the pouring rain. Some of the elders, who had hobbled out of their sick beds with walking aids to attend, were barred entry so that whanau had had to find portable seating for them and had to hold umbrellas above the elders to protect them from part of the stormy weather.
Hungry elders were not even allowed to be fed as no food was permitted into the court. Those who had gained entry to the foyer/court were prevented from returning if they'd left the court for any reason, even for food.
Even the TVNZ journalist, presscard attached, became understandably frustrated when he too was refused access.
It was a day of shame at the Kaikohe Dist Court when police persued, set upon and visciously bashed up a couple of our defenseless young people, one of slight stature and with a medical condition at that.
So to those of you who vote for more police, I ask, what traumatic impressions must the tamariki who witnessed this violent aggression by police come away with?
Subject: Today’s Ngawha Protests
This is an unofficial short report back from yesterdays court session and protest outside court at Kaikohe yesterday concerning Ngawha.
The day was unfortunately marred by the dispicable but usual thuggery of the police. Firstly attempting to arrest one of the lawyers for trying to enter the court room to go about her duties as council for the defendants, then intimidating other representatives and defendants as they entered the courthouse with some representatives being barred from entry.
Police were present in numbers and restricted access to the courtroom to defendants and family and any other Pakeha who had business to do. Several Maori wardens were also barred entry as they were considered sympathetic to the cause.
Overall protestors and whanau outside remained peaceful with waiata and haka and a good hangi, but came under heavy police intimidation and incitement with several small incidences occuring when undercover police began circulating amongst the ropu photographing them for future profiles and harassment.
Finally when the TV cameras had left and the koroua and kuia, lawyers and Maori wardens had exited the courtrooms and headed off in cars, police rage boiled over and they moved out of the courtroom in a pathetic attempt to win the psychological battle they had being losing all day, began dragging away protestors who had by this stage began walking toward their cars. Brute force and mace were used and three were captured and arrested, with one heavy assault on one of the wahine toa.
At this stage those present are considering what action if any can be taken against this unnecessary thuggery.
na reira koutou ma, he mihi kauana ki a koutou mo to koutou na tautoko ki te whanau me te kaupapa hoki.