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All convictions should be quashed against Urewera Four

9 May 2012

Media Release:

All convictions should be quashed against Urewera Four

GPJA supports the decision of one of the Urewera Four lawyers to apply to have the Arms Act convictions against his client, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, quashed following the Crown decision to abandon plans for a retrial of the four remaining Urewera defendants on a charge of “belonging to a criminal gang”.

The defendants are to face sentencing on 24 May after convictions on some breaches of the Arms Act.

However the convictions under the Arms Act were only possible using illegally obtained police evidence. This evidence was inadmissible on the Arms Act charges and was only allowed by the Supreme Court because of the more serious “criminal gang” charge laid by police.

With this charge now gone the convictions based on illegally obtained evidence should be quashed.

It appeared early on that the police laid the “criminal gang” charge principally to allow them to admit evidence even if they knew that evidence wasn’t strong enough to get a conviction on the only serious charge. It wasn’t.

The police were “gaming the system” to get even these minor convictions.

The other 13 defendants had all Arms Act charges against them dropped and the same should now apply to the last four defendants.


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