Breaking News: Peacenik Terrorists Remanded To Friday
Report By Alastair Thompson
Four Wellington peace activists appeared in court this afternoon, were remanded in custody and had their names suppressed on firearms charges which are alleged to have been committed in Rotorua over the last 10 months.
The court appearances were attended by a large number of supporters of the accused, all of whom appeared to be at a loss to understand what was going on.
On the advice of the lawyers for the accused the supporters were not making any public statements, however it was apparent that they were severely distressed about what had happened to their friends.
By chance TV3 caught this morning’s raid at 128 Abel Smith Street Wellington, on camera. On the footage police can be seen breaking windows and storming the house which happens to be relatively close to the TV3 Wellington office.
Two of the addresses raided by police , Abel Smith Street, and an apartment in Symonds Street Auckland, are the known residences of groups of peace activists.
Each of the alleged offenders who appeared in Wellington is at present charged with several offences under section 45(1)b of the Arms Act 1983. Earlier in the afternoon Police Commissioner Howard Broad held a press conference and said that the police were considering laying charges under the Terrorist Suppression Act against the activists.
With one exception each charge laid in Wellington alleges that a relatively large group of people – a number of other people have been arrested in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty & Palmerston North – were “unlawfully in possession of a firearm except for some lawful purpose” in Rotorua on each of six occasions.
Charge sheets filed in Wellington alleges
offending occurred on:
16th-19th November 2006 (with a semi-automatic rifle)
10th to 14th January 2007 (a rifle)
26th to 29th April 2007 (firearm)
21st to 25th June 2007 (rifle)
16th to 19th August 2007 (shotgun & rifle)
13th to 16th September 2007 (Molotov cocktails & military semi-auto rifle)
In addition to the four arrested in Wellington . Several other people have been arrested in Auckland, Palmerston North and the Bay of Plenty and the total number arrested and charged is believed to be 17.
It appears a different subset of the 17 alleged offenders is accused jointly of possession of the firearms in relation to each charge under 45(1)b of the Arms Act.
The one exception to this rule among the charge sheets filed in Wellington concerned a single Wellington activist charged with, on 15th September [today], “being in possession of two .22 calibre cartridges except for some proper purpose.”
In Wellington the crown sought to have the proceedings for the four transferred to Auckland District Court so that all accused could be dealt with together. This application was opposed by counsel for the accused and Judge Radford said argument on the issue may be held on Wednesday depending on whether a fixture is available.
At consent of the counsel all four Wellington peace activists were remanded in custody to reappear on Friday 19 October.
Scoop understands that the section of the Terrorist Suppression Act that was under consideration is section 13 which makes it an offence to belong to a terrorist organisation.