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Urewera police job a disgrace

Urewera police job a disgrace

22 March 2012

“It is revealing and disturbing that Inspector Bruce Good, head of the Urewera raids investigation said his police officers acted ‘professionally,’ and that if he were to do the case over, he wouldn’t do anything differently” said Annette Sykes, Urewera raids lawyer.

“We do not consider ‘professional policing’ that which includes the systematic violation of the criminal law and Human Rights Act. The Supreme Court said in its ruling on the illegal police video evidence used in the Urewera 4 trial that:

The breach of s 21 entailed in the covert surveillance undertaken without lawful authority must be regarded as extremely serious when assessed against the rights breached. Covert surveillance is a substantial breach of the right to be let alone.

I regard it as a significantly exacerbating factor that the film surveillance was undertaken deliberately without legal authority, in the knowledge that there was no lawful investigatory technique available to be used.

In circumstances where the police officer in charge of the inquiry knew that there was no authority to be obtained for such filmed surveillance, the deliberate unlawfulness of the police conduct in the covert filming, maintained over many entries and over a period of some 10 months, is destructive of an effective and credible system of justice.' (Chief Justice Sian Elias, Paragraphs 72 & 73 Supreme Court Decision 125 Hamed v. Queen)

“The criminal offending of the police has been determined to be more serious than any Arms Act offences of the people who were covertly filmed at the so-called ‘camps’—that is why the charges against 13 people were dropped last year. Now that the crown has totally failed to sell their ‘criminal gang’ story to a jury, we demand that all of the firearms convictions against Tame Iti, Rangi Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey be thrown out immediately.

“The raids in Ruatoki on 15 October 2007 included balaclava-clad armed officers blockading the only entry and exit to the village, searching and photographing every person who passed. This blockade was setup on the ‘Confiscation Line’—a painted line on the tarmac that marks the boundary of the land illegally confiscated from Tuhoe by the Crown in 1866. Those who refused or resisted were arrested. An armed officer boarded a children's school bus, and other officers held a women and her three children hostage in their shed for approximately 9 hours. This is what the New Zealand police call professional policing.”

“The outcome of these firearms charges must be consistent with the other 13 whose charges have been dismissed. The police need to be held to account for this travesty,” concluded Ms Sykes.

Annette Sykes acted for several of the defendants involved in the Urewera case from the day the raids happened until late 2011 when charges were dropped against 13 people. Along with Dr Rodney Harrison, she argued against the admissibility of the video evidence in the Supreme Court in May of 2011 that resulted in the judgment of Sept 2011 quoted herein.

ENDS

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