Pakeha call Corrections to drop spurious charges
Pakeha call for Corrections to drop spurious charges
Press release - Pakeha Support Ngawha
23 February 2003
The Department of Corrections has been urged to drop trespass charges against five people protesting against the siting of a prison at Ngawha.
The five were arrested when the barricade blocking the main access road was removed in a combined police and department operation on February 12.
The group Pakeha Support Ngawha has called on the department to drop the charges. Spokesperson Moea Armstrong said the department had broken its agreement with those occupying the designated area.
At least some of the five arrested had removed themselves from the road after the first trespass warning from police. Police must ask three times for voluntary removal before arresting for trespass.
She said police had pursued some of those arrested on the designated area in what appeared to be selective arrests, leaving others on the road alone.
"The department made an agreement with the occupiers that those on the designated occupation area on either side of the road would be free from the threat of arrest. A department official in fact assured the protesters that he would join them if the department breached the undertaking."
A photographer at the noho rangimarie (peaceful occupation) had documented the arrests on the designated area.
She said she had been unable to get anyone from the department to discuss the situation. The five appeared in the Kaikohe District Court last week and were remanded for two weeks.
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