Operation 8 Trial - Day 12, Guns And Licences
Operation 8 Trial - Day 12, Feb 29
by Annemarie Thorby
Day 12 of the Operation 8 trial focused around exhibits found in various searches including the discovery of a firearms licence with firearms.
Graeme Horton, who undertook the scene examination of the vehicle and caravan at Tuhoe Lambert's residence, took the stand first on Wednesday.
Tuesday the court heard from Karen Hoschek, the officer who had been in charge of the search of the main house there.
The evidence booklet under scrutiny was that covering Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara's.
The officer began by saying how on the bed in the caravan he found a plastic bag of assorted clothing and a cell phone. Down the side of the bed, at the head, he had found a pistol. At the head of the bed was Kemara's firearm license along with a collection of coins and keys.
He then went through the cupboards in the caravan. Cupboard A, he said had miscellaneous dried food packages, in cupboard B were miscellaneous items, cupboard C contained medical items, cupboard D ammunition, and cupboard E miscellaneous firearms' equipment.
Also in the caravan he found a USB hard drive, two firearm parts, a camouflage rifle case and a locked cream coloured steel cabinet. There was also a computer set up with a wireless function, money and another cell phone. And something that appeared to be cleaning material for firearms.
Also In the caravan was a Compaq laptop.
When asked about the clothing, he said he found mainly dark clothing and some camouflage clothing. He also found a military style vest and something similar to a stab proof vest.
Inside the locked cabinet was a single bolt action rifle in an unloaded state.
More ammunition and guns were found in the car along with numerous receipts.
Horton was cross-examined at length by Nick Taylor, a lawyer working for Kemara.
He agreed with Taylor that Kemara had a valid New Zealand firearms' license and that a lot of New Zealanders have firearm licenses and that with a license a person can possess both guns and ammunition.
Taylor asked if the pistol found at the head of the bed was a blank firing gun, one not capable of firing a projectile.
The officer said he didn't know, that 'we'd have to do an examination and we are not in the position to do that.' He could not recall if any blank cartridges were found.
Taylor asked if the number of firearms and ammunition were not out of the ordinary for a firearms collector?
He said it was 'Certainly not ordinary, but by and large it is usually stored in more conventional means.'
The officer was then referred to a photo of the locked safe.
The officer confirmed that he had unlocked the safe and inside was a firearm. There was also another locked cabinet, that contained ammunition rounds.
Taylor asked if that was conventional or not, storing guns and ammunition in locked containers.
The officer agreed but said there were live ammunition rounds found in one of the cupboards. 'If they were live rounds,' he said, 'they should be stowed away.'
Asked about the guns in the car, he said that they were in the locked boot.
Taylor asked him to look closely at each photo of the guns found in the boot.
Each gun had permanent bars that ran from the pistol grip to the butt, making the rifles into sporting calibre rifles.
The officer agreed that with that configuration all the rifles in the car boot would be sporting guns and therefore quite legal to be owned by someone with a standard firearms license.
Taylor then asked him to look at another photo of a gun found in Kemara's possession.
The officer identified as a paintball gun.
He confirmed that no license is needed for a paintball gun if you are over 18 years of age and that there are no special laws for storing these guns.
The next photos Taylor asked the officer to look at were photographs of cartridges.
The officer accepted that they were all made out of brass and that all looked 'nice and bright and shiny'.
The officer was also asked about the Daisy Buckshot ammunition he had found in a cardboard container in a locked container.
Taylor asked if he accepted that the Daisy Buckshot was not buckshot but air gun pellets. The officer said, 'yes, quite possible'.
In conclusion Taylor asked if there were any balaclavas found in the caravan or car. There were none.
Tame Iti and a Flower
The next witness was Mark Beddek, the Officer in charge of Exhibits at Kemara's workplace.
At Kemara's workspace he found a booklet about the Zapitista movement, and 14 colour photographs and negatives. 13 of the photographs were of Tame Iti and one was of a flower.
There were a large number of CDs which the prosecutor described as innocuous but asked the officer about the other ones. These were in a white CD container named SARKAS.
They included a 'Guide to SAS Survival', 'Tuhoe,' a film about Che Guevera, 'Assault on the Precinct' and 'Commandant', an Oliver Stone movie.
There was also another CD named 'Tuhoe – A History of Resistance'.
In cross-examination Fairbrother asked the officer if he had viewed the Tuhoe Resistance CD.
The officer said that he 'believed that he had'.
Fairbrother asked if 'it mentioned the Confiscation Line just out of Ruatoki'. The officer couldn't recall.
He also couldn't recall if the CD suggested the on-going drive for Tuhoe autonomy.
He could not recall how long he had watched the CD for.
Fairbrother asked the officer what was the criteria he adopted to determine relevancy of certain items to the Operation.
The Officer said it was the name 'Tuhoe Resistance'.
Fairbrother asked the officer if he were disappointed with the content of the CD when he had viewed it.
The officer said that he 'just viewed it' and when Fairbrother asked him if 'nothing remarkable hangs in your mind about the CD?'
He said, 'No'.
Clothing with Tino Rangitiratanga Emblems
Officer Ricky Bagley was next on the stand.
He was the Officer in Charge of Exhibits for a house searched in Ruatoki. The house belonged to someone previously accused in these proceedings.
In the house he found a rifle and a Sinn Fein anti-interrogation document. In one of the three cars a blue chiller bag was found containing ammunition rounds.
On the washing line was a top with a Tino Rangitiratanga patch and a pair of green SWAZI pants.
Also inside the house was a book called, 'Fighting Techniques of the Special Forces' by Terry White.
Under cross-examination, Fairbrother asked about the firearms' license at the house. The officer said that there were a large number of people present and that the license was not drawn to his attention.
Fairbrother then asked why the Tino Rangitiratanga top was brought to his attention. The officer said it was the camouflage clothing.
When Fairbrother said that in Ruatoki nearly everyone wears camouflage, the officer said that he would not know.
Fairbrother again asked why the Tino Rangitiranga emblem was of interest. The officer said that he had been shown a number of photos of people before he had visited Ruatoki and that he had seen the emblem in the photogrpahs.
Fairbrother then asked about a green, white, black and red flag that could be seen in one photograph.
The officer said he did not know it was a Tuhoe flag and said he made no enquiries about the flag as it was not his job.
'The First Inter-continental Gathering Against Neo-liberals'
The next officer, Dean Barnes, was the Officer in charge of Exhibits during the search of Tame Iti's house in Whakatane.
The jury were directed to use Tame Iti's booklet number 2B and to turn to page 305.
The first thing the officer did at the house was search the two vehicles.
In the cars he found shells, ammunition, blank rounds and a vest, a camouflage cap and binoculars.
In the house he found a photograph of two armed men, a pair of size 8 black combat boots, a cowboy hat with the Maori sovereignty symbol on it, a Sony digital camera, a box of rations and a plastic rifle stock.
The officer also found a cell phone, 'It can be seen in the photo to the right of the New Idea magazine.'
There were also fired cartridges in a flax bag on the top shelf. In the middle shelf was another camouflage cap.
A document entitled, 'The First Inter-continental Gathering Against Neo-liberals' was also found.
Photographs on the fridge included 'a Maori man with a gun', and a photograph of Tame Iti with a gun.
In the washing machine were a pair of camouflage pants. There was also a tee-shirt and another camouflage cap found.
Under cross-examination Fairbrother asked the officer about the size of the pants. He said that the waistband seemed quite fitting for a man of Tame Iti's stature. The officer didn't know.
He also asked about the officer about one of the photos on the fridge with some people holding guns. In the photograph the officer agreed, cars could be seen and either a road or driveway running along parallel to the gate. Fairbrother said it appears to be a fairly public place but the officer said he could not say.
The Mission House - Anti-government Material Seen
The next officer on the stand was Marcus Hanna, he was the officer in charge of exhibits at the Mission House, the Tuhoe Hauora in Ruatoki.
In Tame Iti's office he found a Dell computer, a document entitled 'Residences' Group, a Sinn Fein anti-interrogation booklet, and receipts with Tame Iti's name on them.
Fairbrother asked him questions about the computer, pointing out that it was shown as been on in the photograph. The officer could not recall if he had turned it off or not before dismantling it. He also did not know who had last used the computer.
The officer 'didn't notice' any mental health articles or documents in the Mission House.
Fairbrother asked him why the Sinn Fein document amongst all the others had attracted his attention.
The officer said it was the word 'Sinn Fein' as he had heard of them. However in response to questions he said he did not know that there were five Sinn Fein members in the British parliament and he did not know that they were an organisation dedicated to peaceful resolution in Northern Ireland.
The officer also noticed in the office a lot of what he described as 'anti-government material' on the wall.
When asked if the people were antagonistic towards him as an agent of the state, he said no, they were very friendly and helpful.
Gerhard Webers, a forensic examinations' scientist from EMR was the next person on the stand. He described how to match a cartridge to a gun, and how he had matched cartridges to the Marlin rifle found in the camp near TeAro school.
Under cross-examination by Nick Taylor he said that he agreed that .22 cartridges were very common and that the Marlin is one of the most common guns in the world and in New Zealand.
It is used for small game hunting and commonly used for possum control.
Taylor said, 'so there would be hundreds of thousands of these cartridges in New Zealand?' Webers replied that there 'is certainly a large amount but he would not know how many'.
Then followed technical questioning about the variation of guns across batches produced.
At one stage Taylor asked, 'wouldn't it be good to have a control group of other Marlins?' And 'How do you know the marks on the cartridge are random until you are in position to compare it to another similar aged gun?'
Taylor pointed out that overseas it is considered to be good practise to do tests on similar rifles.
Christopher Stevenson, Urs Signer's lawyer, asked Weber if his conclusions about the guns and cartridges were subjective.
Webers agreed, but said he did not believe it was an issue that he had no control group in regards to the Marlin rifle and explained in detail why. He explained how forensics can be used to practically exclude firearms.
Mr Stevenson then read a lengthy statement about the unreliability of firearms forensics. Webers agreed with the report.
The day ended with the next witness Daniel Roser, an officer involved in searching a house in Ruatoki associated with Tame Iti.
He told about finding a variety of weapons, camouflage clothing and helmet, a CD, notebook, silencers, asprins, ammunition, a compass, a camouflage hydration pack, a green camouflage backpack, a night vision monocular with infra-red illuminator, a bag containing ration packets, a black scarf, a piece of a torn New Zealand flag and a pair of camouflage gumboots.
He also explained how some of these items were outside on a sleeping bag, that was lying on a piece of tarpaulin.
Court adjourned at 5pm on Wednesday and continues