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Police achieve breakthrough in trial by media

Police achieve breakthrough in campaign for trial by media

The police have made a breakthrough in their campaign for trial by media of those arrested in the so-called “anti-terror” raids last month.

They first went to Campbell Live, then the Herald on Sunday and finally today they achieved a breakthrough with the Dompost and Press publishing the leaked material.

On Thursday last week 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.

We can understand the media wanting to publish this material but it’s interesting these newspapers chose to publish this suppressed material but chose for example not to publish the fact that two of the three police charged with rape crimes, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum, (Clint Rickards was the third) were already in prison after sex crime convictions.

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.

The material is untested evidence. The charges faced by the arrested people are very serious.

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. We support an independent inquiry where all the material is published. However this cannot take place until the full facts are established following trial.

The failure of our police and politicians to defend the rights of those arrested is despicable. All have remained silent on the leaking of prejudicial information. They have failed to defend the rights of those arrested to a fair trial.

National Day of Protest
The campaign against the anti-terror laws and the criminalising of dissent in New Zealand will take to the streets for a national day of protest on Saturday 1 December 2007.

ENDS

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