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"Criminal gang" charges ludicrous

31 October 2008

Media Release:

"Criminal gang" charges ludicrous

The police decision to lay charges of participating in a criminal gang against five of the Urewera arrestees is ludicrous. Having failed to brand these activists as terrorists the police now want to try to brand them as criminals.

Why lay these charges more than a year after the arrests? Rather than being serious about these charges it seems to be an attempt to shift the whole case to the High Court rather than have it heard in the District Court. It seems the police will leave no stone unturned in trying to make the case look more serious than it is and in the process to salvage some credibility from the hopeless mess they have got themselves into.

In a bare-faced abuse of the legal process the police also intend to relay charges dismissed at depositions. This is desperate stuff indeed.

The police have been on a hiding to nothing since their dramatic "anti-terror" raids on October 15th last year seized of two pig hunting rifles. Their case is based on a lot of hot air and stupid conversations. Were those charged not political activists the police would have issued warnings for technical breaches of firearms laws rather that attempt the Keystone Cops prosecutions.

For the police this is a "double or nothing" gamble.

Since their dramatic police conference telling the country how they had thwarted terrorist activity the police case has unravelled rapidly. The Solicitor General found there was insufficient evidence to lay charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act and the police case has rapidly unravelled since then.

The waste of public resources is already in the millions and will be in the tens of millions before it is over.

GPJA continues to urge

· That the charges be dropped

· That the so-called anti-terror legislation be abandoned

ENDS

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