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Terrorism Files raise more questions than answers

‘The Terrorism Files’ raise more questions than answers about the Abuse of Power says Maori Party
Dr Pita Sharples, Justice Spokesperson for the Maori Party
Wednesday 14 November 2007

“We welcome the Police Inquiry into their decision to investigate the publication of any information which could be considered to breach court suppression orders or potentially compromise criminal proceedings” said Dr Sharples.

“The inquiry must include questions such as, what are the requirements under the Terrorism Suppression Act around destroying any evidence gathered for the purposes of investigation, once a prosecution no longer stands up to scrutiny, as in this case”.

“The leaks must stop; those who are ‘leaking’ must be found and we expect due justice to be applied” said Dr Sharples.

"Those who are leaking the information are breaking the law. They are committing criminal acts themselves and are demonstrating contempt for the rule of law".

"We have learnt also that leaks to the media were happening, even in the days prior to Black Monday" said Dr Sharples.

“We call on the Minister of Police to explain the processes that were used to destroy evidence ruled out by the Solicitor-General; and to take seriously the public demand for accountability in letting confidential security information slip into the hands of the press”.

“The danger of publishing information without providing any context, is that it creates bush lawyers out of us all, in itself heightening the sense of alarm that has already dominated the debate around terrorism” said Dr Sharples.

“The tragic and depressing reality is that violent and threatening behaviour or language, occurs on an ongoing basis, in all sectors and all communities of this land” said Dr Sharples. "This latest information is part of this wider context of violence, which we have consistently opposed".

In the last fiscal year, there were 2363 charges laid against New Zealanders for threatening to kill, including 1096 charges of verbal threats. In addition there were another 1106 charges laid for speaking threateningly.

“The general public rarely get to see the gross detail of threatening language – or indeed to be in a position to judge the difference between loose bravado talk and serious intent” said Dr Sharples.

“The last thing New Zealand needs now is an invitation to all and sundry to take part in a kangaroo court where fragments of material tossed out as inadmissible evidence by the Solicitor General get tried in the court of public opinion” said Dr Sharples.

"Make no mistake - we are absolutely and categorically horrified by the threatening language we have read in the paper today" said Dr Sharples. "But while the media are intent on selling papers, there are other significant issues that must be addressed".

“The focus for the Maori Party remains firmly with the real distress and trauma caused by actions of the State in Ruatoki” said Dr Sharples. “We remain of the view that a full investigation must take place into the ways in which Police actions unfolded in Te Urewera”.

“We do not support any abuse of power – whether it be inappropriate publication or disclosure of information; statements made by politicians which breach subjudice, or terror raids against communities in which the impact is still being felt” ended Dr Sharples.

ENDS

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