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Police go for trial by media

GLOBALPEACE&JUSTICE AUCKLAND
www.gpja.org.nz

10 November 2007

Media Release:
Police go for trial by media

The leaking to major media outlets of suppressed evidence from last months so-called anti-terror raids is a deliberate attempt by police to orchestrate a trial by media of those arrested.

On Thursday the Solicitor General decided the police evidence did not reach the threshold required to justify prosecutions under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002. Having lost via legal channels the police are now trying to pillory the accused via the media.

Strategic leaks of prejudicial information have been a feature of the police handling of this event beginning with the early morning raids in Wellington on October 15th.

Now however the leaks have become a torrent. Large chunks of suppressed evidence are now being presented to media outlets. This was made clear on TV3's Campbell Live show yesterday evening.

It is a despicable police tactic when the material has not even been sighted by those arrested or their lawyers and where the activists themselves will have to wait up to 18 months before having the chance to present their side of the story when the police evidence is tested in court.

While GPJA are strong supporters of open and transparent justice we believe the latest police action is undermining the rights of the activists whom the police wrongly branded as terrorists on October 15th.

The leaked material consists of transcripts of conversations on car trips. The police are trying the get the public to ignore the million mile gap between a bullshit conversation in a car and a credible threat to life. Threats are made against the Prime Minister in smoko rooms up and down the country every day without the attention of the police.

The silence from our political leaders is telling. The Prime Minister Helen Clark, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and the Police Minister Annette King have all spoken out in defence of the police in the past week but are silent on the leaking of information. They have failed to defend the rights of those arrested to a fair trial.

Helen Clark went further. Two weeks ago she said those arrested were "...people who at the very least have illicitly used firearms, constructed Molotov cocktails and trained themselves how to use napalm .."

The Prime Minister and the police have already decided these people are guilty. We hope the public will see past this prejudicial arrogance and treat the leaked material in the same way.

ENDS

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