Supreme Court Rules Zaoui Be Released On Bail
By Selwyn Manning - Scoop Co-Editor
The Supreme Court of New Zealand has authorised the bail release of Algerian MP Ahmed Zaoui from prison detention and into the care of the Dominican Friars in Auckland.
Supreme Court chief justice Sian Elias delivered the Court ruling at 4pm this afternoon.
Supreme Court chief justice Sian Elias.
The Supreme Court applied
the following bail conditions that:
Any variations to bail conditions are to be heard in the Auckland High Court.
Ahmed Zaoui's senior counsel Dr Rodney Harrison QC sought immediate release. The Crown did not object. Immediate release on bail was granted. Mr Zaoui will be free to leave Auckland Central Remand Prison at 8pm this evening (Thursday December 9)
Earlier today the Supreme Court heard from the Crown and Mr Zaoui's lawyers Dr Rodney Harrison QC and Deborah Manning.
The Crown did not oppose the transfer of Ahmed Zaoui from Auckland Central Remand Prison to the Manger Refugee Detention Centre, but opposed a bail application for Mr Zaoui to be placed in the care of the Dominican Friars in Auckland.
Solicitor General Terrence Arnold told the Supreme Court that Mr Zaoui is considered by the Crown to be a security risk. He said if Mr Zaoui was released to the Dominican Friars it would be difficult to monitor his communications with other individuals and groups..
Mr Arnold said the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service issued a risk certificate against Mr Zaoui as it believed that in time he would repeat activities that caused concern to the Belgium, French and Swiss governments and led to convictions in the former two countries.
But Chief justice Sian Elias said the Supreme Court was not convinced by the Crown's arguments that Mr Zaoui posed a risk to New Zealand.
The Supreme Court judges spent much of the morning questioning Mr Arnold on what conditions the Crown would seek should the Court release Mr Zaoui on bail to the Dominicans.
Dr Harrison asked the Court to grant Mr Zaoui bail with the right to free and open movement during daytime hours.
Dr Harrison said the Dominican Friars had sworn an affidavit assuring that they would report any breach of bail conditions.
Mr Zaoui has been held in prison since arriving in New Zealand on December 4 2002. In March 2003 the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service issued a security risk certificate against him. In August 2003 Mr Zaoui was declared a genuine refugee by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.
For more see… Scoop's
special Ahmed Zaoui feature…