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NRT: Laws are for little people – again

Written By: - Date published: 4:53 pm, August 29th, 2013 - 22 comments
Categories: crime, law, police - Tags: ,

no-right-turnNo Right Turn looks at the police decision on the unlawful GCSB interceptions of DotCom’s communications. Of course getting the police to investigate their own requests for the GCSB to perform an unlawful activity is like putting a stoat in charge of kiwi chicks. Perhaps a private prosecution of the GCSB and the police would be more productive.

The police have announced that they will be taking no action against the GCSB over the latter’s unlawful interception of Kim Dotcom’s communications. Sadly, I’m not surprised. But I am surprised by their “reasoning”. Here’s their excuse:

Subject to the issue of criminal intent, the elements of an offence in respect to section 216B of the Crimes Act 1961 were established in relation to the actions of the GCSB. As for the issue of criminal intent, it cannot be established that any GCSB staff had the necessary criminal intent to illegally intercept private communications in this case and GCSB staff cannot be criminally liable.

[Emphasis added]

This is simply bullshit. Section 216B makes it an offence to intentionally intercept a private communication by means of an interception device. The police have admitted that the other elements were established – that the communication was private, and an interception device was used. But for intent, they are basicly claiming that the GCSB did not mean to intercept those communications. The extensive paper trail [PDF] already revealed by the police in this case shows that to be a lie. The police asked GCSB to spy on Dotcom, and the GCSB agreed. That’s your intent right there.

(See also Graeme Edgeler’s original legal analysis here, which makes it clear that the relevant intent is intent to intercept a private communication, not “intent to break the law”)

Once again the police show they will not hold the powerful to account. Which means that the only means of doing so is for Kim Dotcom to bring a private prosecution against the GCSB staff who invaded his privacy.

Meanwhile, the police’s other letter to Russel Norman regarding the GCSB’s other 85 cases makes it clear that they do not regarded metadata as a “private communication”. Which pretty much blows all John Key’s claims that his spy law protected us from spying out of the water.

 

22 comments on “NRT: Laws are for little people – again”

  1. Sable 1

    By not applying the law equally and fairly the whole system can quite rightly viewed as contemptible, yet another vehicle for inequality.

  2. GCSB staff cannot be criminally liable.

    I think this is close to the truth. Cannot have a criminal international spying unit held accountable for that behavior now do we?

  3. Sanctuary 4

    Could a private prosecution be taken by Mr. Dotcom? That would set the cat amongst the pigeons.

    • McFlock 4.1

      McCready is probably up for it – although he’s probably a bit busy with the other ones he’s got on 🙂

  4. Pascal's bookie 5

    Edgeler shares his thoughts:

    http://publicaddress.net/legalbeagle/the-police-investigation-into-the-gcsb/

    I think this was an appropriate case for the police to exercise their discretion not to lay charges, and have said so in the past.

    Yes, there were people in the GCSB who illegally spied on Kim Dotcom, but absent knowledge or recklessness about their lack of authority, I think civil penalties – Dotcom being able to sue (whether for breach of privacy, or unlawful search or breach of confidence or something else) and get a remedy that way – should be sufficient. We don’t need to use the criminal law in respect of individual employees of the GCSB to mark our disappointment, or anger, at what has gone on here.

    But this isn’t a case where police have found an offence committed, and then decided not to charge those responsible. Instead this is a case where the police have decided no offence has been committed at all.

    And their decision is woeful….

  5. frankdb 6

    What do you do? I despair as I work hard all week and pay the tax equal of 2 unemployed benefits or a weeks expenses of an list MPs ! Who do you shoot first?

    • Pasupial 6.1

      @ frankdb

      Yourself.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.2

      You look out of the window at all the roads, with their streetlamps and essential service routes, and the electricity that comes into your house, and the schools and hospitals and rule of law we made, and you feel a little tiny bit of pride in us.

  6. Steve Withers 7

    If the GCSB are held to account…so must their Minister (Um…that’s John Key!) be accountable.

    NO FREAKIN’ WAY!!!

    Doesn’t matter what the law says….That ain’t gonna happen.

    ..and it didn’t.

    Not under this government, anyway.

    (Don’t you long for the innocent. trivial days when Helen Clarke being driven to the airport at speed by the police as a HUGE issue? Now we have brazen, illegal state spying…and when caught, they make it legal. Disgraceful on any scale of right and wrong. )

  7. Steve Withers 8

    Maybe a Kickstarter Fund to kick off a private prosecution of the GCSB…..

    Those guys in Toronto were able to raise over C$200,000 to *attempt* buy a video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

    (But Mayor Ford allegedly paid the crack video guy more than that, so they donated the money to charity instead).

  8. alwyn 9

    I see that Russel Norman has issued a press statement demanding to know why the police chose not to prosecute the employees of the GSCB and asked whether other New Zealanders would get the same latitude.

    I am pleased to see that Russel, exhibiting his normal consistency has issued another press release.
    The bones of it are that he is demanding that the police re-open, and prosecute other “crimes” including the following –
    1. The former co-leader of the Green Party, and Catherine Delahunty, a current MP, should be prosecuted for fraud for making false accomodation expense claims.
    2. The Green Party should be prosecuted for the theft of about $90,000 from Parliamentary Services during the 2005 election campaign.
    3. Green Party supporters, and Dr Norman’s executive assistant should be prosecuted for the vandalism of National Party billboards in the 2011 campaign.
    5. Jeanette Fitzsimmons, former co-leader should be prosecuted for lighting fires on the Coromandel during a period of a total fire ban.
    Many other examples could be given, Dr Norman said, but these will do for a start.

    He is to be congratulated for insisting that all New Zealander’s are to be treated equally, don’t you think?.

    • Murray Olsen 9.1

      Have you sent this list to the police, or are you just all hot air?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1.1

        He cant send it , its tattooed next to his heart, just in case he forgets one dot of it

      • alwyn 9.1.2

        Why on earth should I bother to complain to the police?
        It’s Comrade Russel who’s getting his knickers in a twist and demanding the police carry out selective prosecutions.
        It isn’t me who wants them to do so.

  9. Sable 10

    Little Johnny backs the police decision not to prosecute, what a surprise. According to the little emperor a couple of poor misguided spies got it wrong, of course they only managed to “accidentally” spy illegally on their fellow countrymen 88 times, an understandable oversight:

    http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/18720126/key-backs-police-decision-on-dotcom-spying/

  10. Sable 11

    Latest yahoo poll shows people don’t buy little Johnny’s excuses. So far 52% think the dodgy spies should have been sent down the river.

    Maybe some of the right wingers on this site would like to vote and see if they can overrule public disgust since there is clearly so much untapped support for their warped viewpoint:

    http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/18720126/key-backs-police-decision-on-dotcom-spying/

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      “Under the Crimes Act it’s whether they deliberately intended to take an action against somebody that they knew to be a New Zealand resident, and they didn’t.”

      Not sure the Crimes Act talks about residency status, ackshully. Otherwise spying on tourists wouldn’t be a crime.

  11. Harri 12

    If someone asked to ‘tap wires, or make lawful interception as it is called in telecom biz, that person (/organization) is responsible for. If there was a crime as in this case, then that person has committed to crime or has persued another person on crime. When there has happenned a crime, then there is a criminal. From far a way, in Finland, this case is very clear. Causality is simple: 1. Crime (eg. Kiwi PM has told that crime has happenned), 2. Someone installed or set up SW and/or HW to do lawfull interception without proper lawull order and this came unlawful interception, 3. If there was an proper order then someone on the chain of command did a criminal act or pursued another person to this crime. You should check your police force.

    Years ago I had a case in Finland where several police officers helped me to write a letter to local commun that has did a decision based on educated, but undocumened decision making of Finnish police. In my case police had written statement that was untruth, patrol of two police officers observed week before scools start our road to school. Their boss wrote a report, but he was educated to remove any statement that makes another public organization to spend money. So he removed thruth from his report. The patrol had written and educated order to observe, but not to write anything on paper. Luckily I have a lot of friends and some of them are in police. I wrote that I shall sue police unless they remove report, and they did. This happened 10y ago inFinland! This region where I live, police has not given reports on safety of roads since then. The educated, but non-written beavior of Finnish police is there still. If we have this, what do you have in Kiwiland?

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