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Seven Auckland "Terror" Accused Remain In Custody

Seven Auckland "Terror" Accused Remain In Custody
Only 2 Seek Bail - Name Suppression Continued For All


By Joseph Barratt

The Police will spend the next week compiling evidence against seven alleged "terrorist training camp" attendees who today appeared in court in Auckland.

According to submisisons made by the Crown in Auckland District Court today, only at the end of the week will the police have a sufficiently clear view of their case to decide whether to press on with charges under the Terrorist Suppression Act.

Bail and name-suppression hearings for seven of the "terror plot" accused started in Auckland today with a strong show of support by the local activist community and their families.

The seven are among 17 people arrested on Monday by police around the North Island acting on evidence obtained using search and interception warrants issued the Terrorist Suppression Act. Each accused - most of whom are political activists - faces a number of charges under section 45(1)b of the Arms Act 1983 alleging collective posession of a range of weapons.

The charges relate to their alleged attendance at paramilitary training camps in the Ureweras with prominent Maori activist Tame Iti.

Four of the 17 were today refused bail in Wellington and have had their cases transferred to Auckland (See also... Tears As Friends Locked Up & Sent To Auckland for a report from Wellington District court.)

Arriving at the Auckland District Court today there were about 50 protesters outside waving signs condemning the police's use of anti-terrorism laws and calling for release of the activists.

Walking inside the foyer there was the usual ( for terrorist trials) metal detector and bag scanning process.

Outside the courtroom there was a tense atmosphere, families were apprehensive and one large whanau of about 40 people had driven down from up north to show their support.

During the course of the day requests for name suppression for most of the accused were heard by Judge Josephine Bouchier whose decision on Tuesday to grant bail to Jamie Beattie Lockett was overturned in the High Court in dramatic circumstances later that night.

Today most of the lawyers - each of seven defendants had their cases called separately (one had been transferred to Auckland from Hamilton) - argued that references of 'terrorism' had been thrown around all week yet the police were yet to charge anyone for offences under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Further they argued that having their names in the media could damage their reputations in such terms, but without that charge having been laid against them.

However Judge Bouchier was not impressed with this other reasoning advanced for continued name suppression. She denied suppression for all but one of the five defendants who asked for it.

In the case of one female defendant the Judge was convinced that continued name suppression was justified.

In the meantime interim name-suppression has been granted for the others till an appeal which will be heard again next Thursday, 25 October.

One of the accused Tame Iti's nephew, Rawiri Iti, voluntarily gave up name suppression and sought bail.

Submissions and argument concerning his bail application were suppressed and bail was denied.

At the end of the day the last of the seven defendant's lawyer said he wanted to make bail application.

However because time had run out, this terror accused's court appearance was adjourned. He will have to wait until next Tuesday, 22nd October, to see if he will be released.

The rest of the accused minus Jamie Lockett - who has already been in the media earlier this week for having won bail only to have it overturned a short time later - decided to wait until November 1st to apply for bail for the first time.

Under the rules of the District Court bail applications cannot be made repeatedly and the tactic of the accused's lawyers appears to be to save their powder for the November 1st appearances which will also see the appearance of the four accused who have had their cases transferred from Wellington.

Towards the end of the day the crown prosecutor told the court that the police expected to have compiled the evidence sufficiently by the end of next week to decide whether to make an application to the Solicitor General for leave to lay charges under the Terrorist Suppression Act.

ENDS

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