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NRT: Pissing on the rule of law

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, September 20th, 2011 - 137 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags:

Pissing on the rule of law – NoRightTurn

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that covert video surveillance evidence against the Urewera 18 was inadmissible, because it had been obtained unlawfully. This was no surprise to the police; they had known that the use of such surveillance was unlawful, but had disgracefully gone ahead and done it anyway. But in the wake of the decision, they whined that the ruling would put other cases at risk. And today, the government gave in to that whining, announcing they would introduce legislation under all-stages urgency to suspend the ruling and retrospectively validate such surveillance.

This is not your usual case justifying all-stages urgency. The police have not been caught by surprise here. They have known for some years, at least since the Law Commission’s 2007 report on search and surveillance powers that video surveillance is unlawful. And there’s even a bill before Parliament, the Search and Surveillance Bill, which would fix it by providing a framework for such surveillance to be lawful. But the government has sat on that bill for almost a year now, preferring to progress other legislation. Parliament has not been caught by surprise; it has deliberately chosen not to act.

In such circumstances, ramming through a bill under all-stages urgency to retrospectively validate deliberately unlawful behaviour by the Police is a gross assault on the rule of law. The police violated the law, and they should pay the price. If they didn’t want to pay that price, then maybe they shouldn’t have deliberately conducted unlawful surveillance in the first place.

Update: Updated link. Also, retrospective validation means the police will be able to use the evidence against the Urewera18. So this is actually all-stages urgent legislation to change the outcome of a criminal trial. This is absolutely obscene. We would not accept such behaviour somewhere like Fiji, and we should not accept it here.

137 comments on “NRT: Pissing on the rule of law”

  1. toad 1

    I hope all the Labour supporters here will lobby Labour MPs to oppose this travesty.  Greens, Mana and Maori have already come out against it.  But Goff was very equivocal on Labour’s response when interviewed this morning.

      • grumpy 1.1.1

        Just what National wants before an election. Labour siding with Greens and Mana to shield organised crime and gangs. No votes in that guys.

      • just saying 1.1.2

        Mickey,

        Does Labour have a policy on this? If it does I’m pretty sure it’s not “progressively introduce a police state….undermine democracy and the rule of law” Maybe that is the problem with Labour’s parliamentarians on these kinds of issues (and there’s been a few) – lack of guidance from their membership in their decision-making – a gap which could potentially be plugged once and for all.

        I’ve gotten onto a few party member friends to encourage them to lobby too. This is really important, and this kind of issue has bled Labour of many votes imo. A strong stand could do wonders not just regarding lost votes, but in gaining new ones. The talkback crowd are a noisy minority, and one that the parliamentarians seem to kow-tow to far more than they should. All this kow-towing just looks weak AND insincere – it never seems to convince the rednecks to vote for them because they never seem to be convinced that Labour really is a natural home for neanderthals.

        Be strong – the result might surprise….

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1

          Labour in the UK caved in to US and internal pressure for ever increasing state surveillance of citizens.

          Now their local primary schools can hire private investigators to trail parents around after school, and other such niceties.

    • lprent 1.2

      I seem to have many of the Labour MP’s on my facebook. Many others here will as well. Just hit the recommend or like button, add a barbed comment, and then you can think about other more traditional methods to follow up with.

      Basically this looks like the police wanting to run an endgame around the existing search rules and the ones that are likely to be in the new bill.

  2. Red Fred 2

    Yeah – because we are so much better off with these people running around. Lock em up I say.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.1

      Piss off freddykins, which people? Lock ’em up? What trial-what convictions-what verdicts for imprisonment-what are you on about…

      • grumpy 2.1.1

        Dunno, lets see the evidence.

        • felix 2.1.1.1

          Evidence for what?

          You’re talking as if you know which investigations this relates to. Do you?

          It’s not about the Urewera charges if that’s what you’re thinking.

          • grumpy 2.1.1.1.1

            Evidence is good, all evidence…….

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I hear waterboarding provides damn good evidence sometime. (The rest of the time it provides damn good entertainment for the Jack Bauer types).

              • grumpy

                I don’t know what surfing has to do with it.

              • grumpy

                Oh! I know, what about short ugly chicks having girl sex and fem dom sessions??? Seemed to work in Iraq. That should get the truth out of Tama Iti!!!

              • Peter Rabbit

                While there are a lot of moral arguments against the use of torture there is one simple reason why humanity constantly returns to its use throughout history, and that is because it works.

                If you have any doubts about just spend some (very depressing and sickening) time reviewing the interrogations and results from the inquisition, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union and Pol Pots Cambodia.

                It seems historically the biggest problem has been finding the appropriate ratio of: physical torture, medical knowledge, and time. For example during the inquisition time was never a major issue (the church also seemed quite willing to wait) and but most victims died as a result of the injuries inflicted to them and the lack of medical knowledge to subsequently treat the injuries so they could keep people alive long enough to provide good information. Today however we have the techniques and medical pretty much down pat however the biggest issue is time.

                • grumpy

                  …..and according to CV, we give them time off to go surfing too……….and watch girl sex…..

                  Gee, torture ain’t what it used to be……

                • Tiger Mountain

                  Sick, sadistic bunnies. Please moderator….

                  • grumpy

                    Oh, come on, you’re the guy who tried to tell us that the guys were shooting thar in the Ureweras.

                    Some people just take torture so damned seriously!!!!1

                • Colonial Viper

                  While there are a lot of moral arguments against the use of torture there is one simple reason why humanity constantly returns to its use throughout history, and that is because it works.

                  It “works”?

                  What a load of bollocks?

                  All it produces is nonsense, whatever the interrogated thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

                  You watch too much 24.

                  • Peter Rabbit

                    CV – Don’t for a minute think that I support or condone torture. I firmly believe that there is a moral cost to for any indivdual and society that pursues its as a choice, however don’ be naive.

                    Spend some time and go research it fully and read the accounts from those who have actually been involved in it (from both sides). If you do I think you will quickly re-evaluate that position.

                    Tiger (and anybody else), if any statement made by myself caused offense my apologises. I will not be responding further to this thread.

                    • grumpy

                      Seriously, I too deplore torture it represents a failure of humanity and (especially in Iraq) showed a lack of intelligence and morality amongst all those involved – especially Bush cheney and Blair.

                      However, some good things have come from it. The research by Mengele directly led to the development of the RCD (Residual Current Device) that has saved countless lives.

                      Still in no way justifies it though (not even with girl sex).

                    • McFlock

                      From a purely amoral standpoint, torture is great if you want to extract a confession. It’s only unreliable if you want that confession to be accurate.
                        
                      Some of Mengele’s results were useful. Whether this was because the experimental design was unethical is highly debatable.

                    • grumpy

                      McFlock, the use of 30mA as the common rating for RCDs is that is the current that when the average healthy male is subjected to, there is a 90% chance of survival.

                      Next time you plug your RCD into your power tool, think about it.

                    • millsy

                      @ grumpy (sorry I cannot directly reply to you).

                      A quick look at Wikipedia (yeah I know, I know) tells me that RCD’s were developed in the South African mining industry during the 50’s. Close, but still wrong. No mention of Mengele.

                    • grumpy

                      I know that Millsy but it was the 30mA bit that Mengele researched (certainly not theoretical research).

                      That result was used by the South Africans for developing the early RCD type device for mining later.

                      From what I remember the Nazi’s research had something to do with submarines but I may be wrong there………

                    • McFlock

                      A good parallel with the RCD would be the CPR breath/compression ratios. Assuming there is an ideal ratio (e.g. breathe twice, 30 compressions, repeat 3 times and check), clinicians and researchers have been getting closer and closer to it using ethical methods, such as case reviews and physiological background. Whether more people have died as a result of this gradual expansion in human knowledge as opposed to the mengele method (i.e. inducing heart failure in 12,000 malnourished subjects and using different cpr techniques, including far fetched ones like kicking in the ribs, in extensive case:control trials) is debatable.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It works? Erm, not according to the evidence it doesn’t. See the “debates concerning effectiveness” section of the wikipedia article
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_interrogation_techniques
                   
                   
                   

                  • Vicky32

                    The very phrase ‘enhanced interrogation’ shows what a life-denying, euphemistic culture exists in the USA. The phrase “sick bastards” doesn’t even begin to cover them.
                    From the Wikipedia article : ” 1. The claim that the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed helped prevent a planned attack on Los Angeles in 2002 – which ignores the fact that he wasn’t captured until 2003, and
                    2. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who had confessed that Iraq had trained al Qaeda in the use of weapons of mass destruction which was then used as justification for the subsequent invasion of Iraq – a confession now known to be false.[81][82]

                • Vicky32

                  While there are a lot of moral arguments against the use of torture there is one simple reason why humanity constantly returns to its use throughout history, and that is because it works.

                  Except that it doesn’t! All it does so, is create terror, and therefore conformity… How on earth have you come by the idea that it works? The Evil Empire has had a prisoner by the name of Khalid Sheik Mohamed in custody for years. They have been commiting torture on him for years. A micro-second’s thought should tell them that he doesn’t know anything current – and that he years ago, stopped telling them anything useful. People who are being tortured will say whatever they believe their interrogator wants to hear, just to make him stop.

                   
                  It seems historically the biggest problem has been finding the appropriate ratio of: physical torture, medical knowledge, and time.

                  Is it just me, or are you the teensiest bit turned on by the idea?

                  • KJT

                    The terror seems to be quite effective. Not many wikileakers from the States now!

                    I have hoped that we had progressed morally since the inquisition, but it seems not!

    • freedom 2.2

      Fred,
      Details of the relevant cases have not been disclosed.
      This silence only raises questions as to why Government is defecating on our Bill of Rights.

    • w 2.3

      “These people”??? What does that mean? Based on what evidence? Surely you haven’t ‘tried’ people in your mind based on what your mind interpreted in the media? No, surely not… because that would just be plain, dumb bigotry.

  3. graeme 3

    Good. what ever was going on in them hills should be made public. if the cops have the goods on them then in this instance i dont care how they got it.
    if it turns out the cops have nothing, i will happily put my hand up and apologise for my stance on this.
    what ever was going on up there was enough to have the highest level of Govt sanction the raids that were carried out and i would like to think the red team got it right when they originally authourised it, and that the blue team knows enough about it to push through the law change.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      What you are arguing graeme is that ‘the ends justify the means’. It’s never a sound argument because you can speciously use it to justify anything.

      If for example the Police had used illegal torture to extract ‘confessions’… then there would be plenty of people willing to justify this using exactly the same argument you have.

      • grumpy 3.1.1

        Torture is an interesting moral dilema. What if thousands of lives were at stake – is it OK to torture then?

        Many (not just Dick Cheney) would think it was.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          Torture is an interesting moral dilema.

          No it’s not. It’s absolutely immoral.

          What if thousands of lives were at stake – is it OK to torture then?

          Which it won’t because it doesn’t work.

      • graeme 3.1.2

        Under normal circumstance i would not support this, how ever with all the fuss that has been made about the people up in the Uruwera’s, i want to know what the cops have got.
        They must have something, there is no way the police would have been given the sanctions they were to carry out the raids in the manner they did unless something was going on.
        It will not apply to the people that have already had their charges dismissed, which i guess is fair enough, but what ever Tame and his mates were up to is serious enough for the supreme court to allow the evidence to be used, and quite frankly i want to know.
        As for the retrosepective side of it, if this revelation was to mean that all the meth dealers and gang members that are inside were to be let off and placed back within society, then that is not good enough, and the govt can do what we charge them with, keep us safe.
        The red team will make a few noises about it but in fact this is their mess, and they should support the blue team to an extent to clean it up.

        • freedom 3.1.2.1

          How difficult is it for people to understand the proposed changes DO NOT APPLY to the Urewera 18, and the recently dismissed charges ( regardless of the damage already done to these lives) .

        • framu 3.1.2.2

          “but what ever Tame and his mates were up to is serious enough for the supreme court to allow the evidence to be used”

          it hasnt been ruled out for these defendants by the supreme court – ergo, no urgent retrospective law change required to satisfy your curiosity in that case.

        • Treetop 3.1.2.3

          graeme, the only way the police can save Broad’s major screw up is for the evidence to be compelling on the need to use camera surveillance.

          I take domestic violence seriously because it is a serious business, in particular when someone has a protection order out against them and if this is breached . This is the bench mark which I expect to be used when it comes to insuring the safety of the public concerning the four Urewera accused. All of us have heard of a partner being threatened and the police not taking the threat seriously and then a life has been taken. The worst cases are when children have been killed by the person who has the protection order out against them.

          For a protection order to be written this no doubt requires a level of proof that a person or their children are in danger by the person who has the protection order against them. I may not think that this is sufficient but this is the law.

          Do not make excuses for the police as the Urewera raids, surveillance, seizure and detaining were at their hands.

          The question I have for the ex commissioner of Police (Broad) is: What alternatives did he have available to him and why did he not exercise confiscating unregistered fire arms?

    • Tiger Mountain 3.2

      Worse goes on in the leafy ’burbs, clubs, spook, pig and military HQs and boardrooms than anything in them thar hills tory graeme.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Quite apart from the fundamental principles involved, Labour should oppose this for political reasons too.

    Electoral gain for tamely following National – nil. They aren’t going to lose the swing voters they’ve already lost, over the past three years. Nobody’s going to say “I was going to back Key, but now I’m backing Goff for backing Key! That’s what I really wanted him to do, and now he’s got my vote back!”

    Electoral loss – substantial. There’s only so much disappointment Labour’s loyal supporters can take. The Greens, Mana, and the couch will all get new converts.

    Do the right thing, Labour. Please.

    • grumpy 4.1

      Bullshit! There are no votes on the left for Labour – they will go to Green or Mana. Labour can pick up more from the centre (the Law and Order constituency).

      • gobsmacked 4.1.1

        @Grumpy

        Your mission, should you choose to accept it …

        Find voters who will switch to Labour, from National, because Labour support National. Any voters, anywhere. Off you go.

        This theory will self-destruct in five seconds.

      • mickysavage 4.1.2

        Question grumpy, does the law and order constituency also expect the police to obey the law?

        • grumpy 4.1.2.1

          Certainly, especially when that law is clear (as it will be thanks to National and ACT). Labour can either be on the winning side – or not. Either be seen to be supporting organised crime – or not.

          I notice that Right Wing blogs seem much more robust at attacking lawbreaking on both sides than lefties.

          • freedom 4.1.2.1.1

            The law is clear now grumpy, all the Police had to do was specify inclusion of video surveillance in their petition for a warrant. Lazy lawers are not justification for retrospective law.

            • grumpy 4.1.2.1.1.1

              So damn clear that the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cannot agree – and you expect PC Clod Broad to????

              • freedom

                The Police want a blanket law to cover all surveillance and there is no justification for this regardless of developments in technology.
                The specifics of any warrant that permits surveillance should and must be transparent.

            • mickysavage 4.1.2.1.1.2

              The law is clear now grumpy, all the Police had to do was specify inclusion of video surveillance in their petition for a warrant.

              Um no it does not.  It does not allow tresspassing for the purpose of installing surveillance and recording instruments.  That is why there is a problem.  A warrant allows police to go in and seize existing evidence, not set up equipment to collect future evidence.

        • Joe Bloggs 4.1.2.2

          Yes indeedy, the law and order constituency should also expect the police to obey the law?

          And yes indeedy, the police should obey the law.

          But the law was poorly constructed in this case – written before video taping was a common way of obtaining evidence.

          There’s a case for the police to be challenged over their techniques of covertly obtaining video evidence but that shouldn’t automatically invalidate the evidence that was collected. Particularly given the nature of evidence that’s been collected in this instance.

          Evidence helps the courts to get to know the truth in a clear fashion, and enables to courts to make a fair and objective judgement of the culpability of the accused.

          The Police only broke the tresspass law when a bare majority of the Supreme Court said they did.

          Up to that point, they did not break the law and four judges (1 in the High Court and 3 in the Appeals Court) said the evidence was admissible. Add to that two Supreme Court judges who also considered the evidence was admissible and you have six senior judges in NZ indicating the evidence is admissible and only three dissenting.

          • terryg 4.1.2.2.1

            read harder.

            The admissability or otherwise of the resultant evidence is a separate issue from the illegality of the methods used to obtain it. The law specifically gives Judges the right to permit the use of illegally obtained evidence, should the charges warrant it. That was what the SC judges disagreed over, not its illegality.

          • Pascal's bookie 4.1.2.2.2

            And the way the rule of law works is that the majority on the supreme court, wins.

            Ergo, what they did was unlawful. Further to that, it looks like they knew damn well it was unlawful.

            The hole in the law around video was well known. The govt has had *years* to sort it out. But they haven’t.

            So if criminals go free because of that, it is to the government, for failing to close the hole, and the police, for unlawfully collecting evidence, that you should be pointing the finger.

            • Joe Bloggs 4.1.2.2.2.1

              Let’s see how you handle this then. Let’s play the “what if…” game.

              What ifTama Iti was actually Anders Breivik and he was intercepted by the NZ Police before he could commit the crimes that he did.

              Do you let Breivik free because the evidence against him was improperly obtained?

              I wouldn’t. And if you were honest to yourself I sincerely doubt that you would either.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Before we play “what if” I’ll just note that you haven’t responded to what I wrote, at all.

                So after we play “what if”, I’d like to hear your thoughts about whether or not the fault for any dropped charges lie with the government and the police.

                “What ifTama Iti was actually Anders Breivik and he was intercepted by the NZ Police before he could commit the crimes that he did.

                Do you let Breivik free because the evidence against him was improperly obtained?”

                But what if the Tama Iti/Anders Breivik character was planning on killing the baby Hit1er? What if stopping him from doing that led to ww2 and the holocaust?

                Oh no, what a moral dilemma, whatever shall we do?

                How about we bring some reality into the game, seeing ‘what if’ is just so fucking lame.

                The court hasn’t thrown out all the charges. So your Breivik fantasy is even more lame that it initially appears, as hard as that is to believe.

                There is a balancing test remember?

                That’s why Key’s talk about serious criminals (who haven’t been convicted of anything yet) is such bullshit. The only people who will be ‘set free’ are those who meet that balancing test, ie those who only have minor charges against them.

                So why is key wanking on about it, and lying about what it means, so much? Why the urgency?

                Could it be that a few minor cases would be dismissed, with the blame for that falling not on the court, who simply upheld the law as written, but on his government which has sat on it’s hands for years, and on the police who laid charges based on evidence they knew was collected unlawfully?

                Who would be responsible, to a principled rule of law conservative, for such charges being dropped?

            • Treetop 4.1.2.2.2.2

              The Commissioner of Police is responsible to the Minister of Police for the administration and control of the police.

              Where is that bozo Broad and what has he got to say for himself?
              Possibly spending some of the $330,000 he got when his post as police commissioner was up.

              Recently I stated that I have confidence in Chief Justice Elias. I am left wondering if she has an opinion on whether or not Broad should be charged with wasting tax payers money, invading the privacy of people with unreasonable search and seizure multiple times and being threatening (using fire arms and detaining people the day of the Urewera raids.

              Unreasonable search and seizure is what occurs in a non democratic country or in a police state.

  5. Jim Nald 5

    Waahaahaa
    I love this donkey government
    blasting ahead like it has an open cheque, erm statute, book
    to write any law it wants
    by taking urgency anytime it likes

    • grumpy 5.1

      It’s called “being the Government”, the same thing as when Labour bought in Civil Unions, Supreme Court etc. etc.

      If you guys can con enough people, you get to do it again….

      • millsy 5.1.1

        What’s wrong with Civil Unions? Unless you’re one of those people who have some problem with people entering into a contract to formalise their relationship even though it doesn’t effect you whatsoever.

        • felix 5.1.1.1

          grumpy isn’t saying there’s anything wrong with civil unions, he’s saying that the civil unions bill was forced through parliament under urgency overriding a supreme court decision.

        • Jim Nald 5.1.1.2

          Oh yah of course, the Civil Union legislation was passed under urgency, with no select committee process, and was retrospective.

          And of course, that is correct – the Supreme Court reform was passed under urgency, with no select committee process, and was retrospective.

          And all that also apply to “etc”.

          So let’s go right ahead and bulldoze our way with passing laws under urgency, with no select committee process, with no need for public and expert submission, and let’s make them retrospective. Yeehaa.

          NZ should really push for this and lead the world with this new paradigm of legality without legitimacy.

  6. grumpy 6

    The Supreme Court were hardly unanimous (3-2) and invited the government to amend the law.

    Both the High Court and Court of Appeal OK’d the use of the evidence so you can hardly accuse the police of acting illegally.

    I’m with graeme on this. I want to know what was going on up there and it seems the government and the police do too. It’s very telling that it is the accused and their left wing mates who want everything covered up. If there is nothing there, then that will be the end to it and the cops will look stupid.

    • wtl 6.1

      All these comments regarding the Urewera case are missing the point. The government is proposing that retrospective legislation be made to make video surveillance by the police legal. This (apparently) won’t apply to the Urewera case, but will apply to other cases. For a good discussion of the issues at hand, see the posts by Andrew Geddis and Dean Knight.

      • Peter Rabbit 6.1.1

        What I disagree with is that if these changes are needed to as John Key puts it to “some very serious criminals” from going free why aren’t they going to be applied to the Urewera defendants?

        Arguably some already have.

        • grumpy 6.1.1.1

          Good point – anyone for a Privy Council????

          The Supreme Court is such crap that the High Court, Court of Appeal and 2 out of 5 Supreme Court Judges all seem to (sort of ) agree, but 3 Judges (who used to be HC and HoA) don’t????

          Lets go get some good one!

          • felix 6.1.1.1.1

            You’re the same grumpy who was excitedly telling us that the police should kill a few rioters to make a point, aren’t you?

            • grumpy 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Nah, not me. If I remember it was a guy one in front of me on a thread. I saw it too but thought it a bit OTT.

              However, if you can find it, I’ll be the first to admit it if it was me! Now, you won’t find many lefties doing that!

              …..but I’m sure it wasn’t…….

              • felix

                Won’t be findable ‘cos the cowardly culprit changed his rotten comment to cover his dirty tracks.

                Sorry for accusing if it wasn’t you.

        • felix 6.1.1.2

          Actually it’s not “arguable” Peter, solely because the police behaved like a bunch of fucking pirates and acted outside and above the law.

          If they hadn’t, it would be arguable and it would be argued, but now all we have is wild conjecture like your comment.

          • Peter Rabbit 6.1.1.2.1

            The fact that the current Government isn’t prepared to retrospectively use this law (for me) says a lot about how weak they feel the original case is.

            The problem with the current state of affairs that I see though is that for the 14 who have had the charges dismissed against them is that regardless of their legal situation due to the positions/publicity that the police, media and then government they will forever be seen by the majority of NZ’ers as criminals/terrorists who were able to use legal maneuvering and public opinion to remain free, not innocent persons who became involved in the over zealous police/intelligence investigation.

            I do know though if I was one of the 14 and I really was innocent I would be wanting my day in court and be praying the Government use this retrospective change to re-charge me.

            • felix 6.1.1.2.1.1

              “I do know though if I was one of the 14…”

              Sorry, you don’t get to speak for them Peter.

              • grumpy

                Hi felix……..do you?

                • wtl

                  ??? felix isn’t claiming to speak for them.

                  • grumpy

                    ????so how does he know Peter isn’t????

                    • wtl

                      you do not speak for them != they say you do not speak for them

                    • grumpy

                      But felix says peter doesn’t speak for them = felix does!!!!!!!

                    • wtl

                      No.

                      felix says peter doesn’t speak for them = felix says peter doesn’t speak for them (in his opinion, others can make up their own mind what to think)

                    • McFlock

                      grumpy no compute logic…

                    • felix

                      Good lord.
                      .

                    • grumpy

                      ….but how does felix know peter doesn’t speak for them unless he does???? The act of saying peter doesn’t speak for them is speaking for them…..or is felix just bullshitting????

                      Nooooooooooooo, couldn’t be.

                    • felix

                      Oh I see, you’re saying maybe Peter actually does speak for them but is just pretending not to while he’s here.

                      Are you on the piss already grumpy?

                    • grumpy

                      I don’t know if peter speaks for them or not because nobody who they say speaks for them has said whether he does or doesn’t.

                      Is that clearer??????

                    • felix

                      You’re retarded. If Peter was speaking for them he could’ve said so when I challenged him. He didn’t. He still hasn’t. So as far as I care he wasn’t and doesn’t.

                    • grumpy

                      You’re right, he could’ve but he hasn’t and he clearly didn’t. He could’ve but might not have if he felt he didn’t have to because he couldn’t give a horses fart that you did or didn’t think he was or wasn’t. Either way if you don’t and peter hasn’t said if he does or doesn’t then nobody knows for sure who can or can’t.

                      Either he is (and being low key) or he isn’t but it’s good to know you aren’t.

        • freedom 6.1.1.3

          Although the current act does not stipulate video surveillance it can be, upon request, specifically included in the articles of any warrant. It is the failure of the Police lawyers to do so that has resulted in our Bill of Rights being targeted for assasination. The Police either had sufficient evidence for warrants or they are fishing with questionable motive.

          They have admitted that they were aware of the void in law pertaining to covert video capture and ignored the logical solution when applying for warrants, in favour of continuing with illegal surveillance practises. In a lawful society, there can be no justification, regardless of a suspected crime, for Police, the Courts or indeed the Government to act with impunity of the law.

    • toad 6.2

      The 3-2 split in the Supreme Court was over whether the evidence should be admissible.  That is a very different issue to whether it was legally obtained.  The Court was unanimous that it was not, and the Police were well aware that they had no statutory authority to trespass onto private property and undertake covert video surveillance.  Don’t buy into Greg O’Connor’s spin.

      • grumpy 6.2.1

        Hey Toad, they’re calling out for you over at K’blog

      • davidc 6.2.2

        I thought the point was that the evidence that was illegally gained (via trespass) was still acceptable to the high court to be used it was only when the supreme court ruled (3 to 2) that it could not be used it became a problem to police.

        • mickysavage 6.2.2.1

          The finding was that the evidence was improperly gained.
           
          The Judges then considered whether the saving provisions in section 30 Evidence Act should nevertheless let it in.
           
          Two said no to all charges.  One said yes only to the most serious charges.  Two said yes to all charges.
           
          The split does not help the debate but the majority have conclusively ruled and made comments on the law in general.
           

    • framu 6.3

      “so you can hardly accuse the police of acting illegally.”

      well apart from the bit where they were warned some years ago that it was illegal your quite correct

  7. aspasia 7

    Excellent, authoritative legal analysis of these issues on two blogsites:

    1. Dean Knight
    http://www.laws179.co.nz/2011/09/covert-video-surveillance-and-covert.html

    2.Andrew Geddis
    http://pundit.co.nz/content/once-upon-a-time-in-te-urewera

  8. ianmac 8

    No right Turn says :”Labour has finally spoken up about National’s plans to oust the rule of law and retrospectively validate unlawful police surveillance, saying they will not support the bill until they have seen it, and they will not support the bill being passed under urgency.”
    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/
    That sounds better!

  9. HC 9

    New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990:

    Section 21:

    “Unreasonable search and seizure

    Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure, whether of the person, property, or correspondence or otherwise.”

    That is apparently at the core of the problem. The police got away with video surveillance so far, where they had “reasonable” cause to take such actions. That was in cases and circumstances where very serious crimes were being or likely to be committed.

    The Supreme Court found that in the case of most of the accused the actions were not reasonable, because any likely offences were either not imminent or serious enough for such actions.

    So a law change will address this. The concern is that it will offer the police the chance to in future surveil persons simply for having “reasonable cause to believe” that a crime is or is likely to be committed. Such formulations are already used in the law and can be interpreted fairly widely.

    It will naturally open the doors to possible abuse, and the onus to prove unreasonableness will lie with the defence. The law is being shifted more towards the accused having to prove her or his innocence than the prosecution having to prove guilt and that an offence was committed or intended to be committed. We are moving towards more of a surveillance state, and this is exactly what this government loves (see emergency laws used in CH CH and now the Auckland waterfront).

  10. If the Police aren’t allowed to use covert video surveillance of criminals, then this country is in serious trouble.

    • Joe Bloggs 10.1

      amen

    • felix 10.2

      They are allowed to use video surveillance but they have to do it LEGALLY.

      The trouble is they placed themselves above the law and did it ILLEGALLY.

      Is anything getting through there Brett?

      • Brett Dale 10.2.1

        The ;police dont set up covert video surveillance on people who they think are innocent, we should be supporting the Police, not making their jobs more difficult.

        • Treetop 10.2.1.1

          Have you heard of Patrick O’ Brien, ex undercover cop in the mid 1970s he has his own web page. O’ Brien is trying to hold the police to account because he perjured himself over a hundred times and top police brass did not question his many convictions. Come on no one is that good, only one case was dismissed.

        • felix 10.2.1.2

          Brett.

          1. It’s not the job of the police to determine innocence or guilt, so you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about right off the bat.

          2. The police don’t get to charge around doing whatever the fuck they like in a civilised society. That’s Judge Dredd’s world. In a civilised society we maintain a separation of powers and the job of the police is to uphold the law, not to make up the law to suit themselves.

          I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “The Rule of Law”, Brett, but do you know what it means? It means the law is the highest authority. Not the king, not the police, not the judge, not the prime minister, not jesus, not the strongest man in town, nor the richest woman.

          No one – not even the captain of the Kiwis Brett – is above the law.

          Please let that sink in, it’s one of the very important principles that our entire society is based on and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether you think the police have a tough time or a hard job or nice pants or whatever the fuck else you think about them.

          If you don’t acknowledge that principle then you simply cannot claim to be in favour of democracy or freedom or any of the other shit that you waffle on about every time an American stubs their toe.

      • insider 10.2.2

        The court said they can’t legally surveill (is that a word?) on private property, which was the grey issue (according to the police). What they could legally do outside private property wasn’t at issue.

    • Puddleglum 10.3

      Surely, Brett Dale, the point is not whether or not the Police are “allowed to use covert video surveillance of criminals” but whether or not the Police are allowed to use covert video surveillance to see if some people are criminals?

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    “criminals” are generally persons convicted and sentenced in a court of law by due process. People being spied on by state agencies are not necessarily or likely to become, criminals. The pigs want to be able to snoop on anyone for any reason anytime on Their Say So. Anyone with half a brain should be seriously concerned about this.

    A sideshow: watch the alleged libertarians in ACT run for cover on this issue.

    • Joe Bloggs 11.1

      your name-calling the police “pigs” consigns your comments to the rubbish-bin of history – grow up kid. You’re not some beatnik in the 1960s

  12. burt 12

    I see in a previous thread about passing legislation under urgency to fix an incorrect interpretation of the law (untested in court) Idiot/Savant had this to say;

    see: NRT: Passed (Wednesday, October 18, 2006)

    The Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill just passed its third reading 61 to 50, with 6 abstentions (and the Maori Party not voting). We won, you lost, suck it.

    Which means that we should not see this sort of retrospective reinterpretation happening again.

    But the thing that puzzles me about his outrage this time more is that the same basic behaviours seem present in both cases.

    1. Police/Labour were doing what they have always done.
    2. It was commonly accepted what they were doing was legal. (Or they wouldn’t have used the money/evidence to start with)
    3. It could be argued the ref made a bad call and parliament know what the law was supposed to say so its valid to do so.

    One case involves the correction of an apparent misunderstanding in the application of the law and the other – Gee I think it’s the same.

    Oh and wasn’t NRT a more lively place when comments were enabled.

    • Oh Burt I know this is going to be a waste of key presses but here goes …

      Labour used PS funds set aside for communicating with constituents for precisely that purpose.  The pledge card was to tell kiwis what we intended to do.  It was remarkably accurate, all the policies were put into force.

      The expenditure was approved in successive elections.  National had a similar fund but chose to spend it differently.

      The Auditor General saw it differently.  So despite previously believing that it was legal doubts were entertained.  The retrospective legislation was to formalize the spend.  To be honest they had the option of not doing this and just stating that it was an informed mistake.  This would have had the same effect.

      This situation is different.  The Police have known for 4 years that there are problems.  They have nevertheless chosen to engage in behavior that the Supreme Court has designated illegal.

      And this is not a misinterpretation of administrative policies.  This is liberty dependent ruling on Criminal Law.

      And the Government is proposing that a number of kiwis who right now have a legitimate defence to actual or possible prosecutions will henceforth not have that defence.

      So how are these things similar? 

      • insider 12.1.1

        Hang on – you are forgetting there was a specific warning before the election about claiming back funding for illegitimate items that was ignored by Mike Smith, and the guidelines on spending in MPs’ handbook.

        Wasn’t this really an extremely analagous case of them (all parties not just Labour) getting away with it for years and assuming that meant it was legal, but when tested against the actual law they failed?

  13. Jan 13

    On the topic of the original post I’m mystified that the issues raised here have so far not included any discussion about to what extent the Police Minister has been misled by the police about the extra-judicial surveiillance taking place under her watch. What does this say about the usual policy of no surprises between Department Chiefs and their Ministers?

    As one of the main delays to progress of the Urewera’s case was the legal debate over the admissability of evidence there would appear to have been some very poor risk mitigation on the part of the Commissioner of Police and the Minister (depending on the extent to which the large amoint of illegal surveillance was disclosed to the Minister ) as to anticipating the situation that has now arisen..

    It sounds to me as if we should be in a “heads should roll” mode about the level of incompetence and / or lack of disclosure on either the Commissioner or Minster’s role in the governance of the police.

    • burt 13.1

      I would tend to agree, back to 2007 when initial mitigations should have been implemented in policy or just current heads ?

  14. burt 14

    mickysavage

    “The Police have known for 4 years that there are problems. “

    Labour were warned via a written warning (David Henry [see: http://web.archive.org/web/20060627174518im_/http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/archives/lab2.JPG ]) prior to getting the spending authorised through PS. Not 4 years, but I’m not aware of a one-time get out of jail free card on discovering your intended actions will break the law. So no difference in warning, duration of warning period perhaps. (same)

    “And this is not a misinterpretation of administrative policies. This is liberty dependent ruling on Criminal Law.”

    In Labour’s case the misspending was ‘one way or another’ being tried in a civil court at this time. (Darnton v Clark) Which may have been a motivator for rushing the validations through under urgency rather than with the next budget as would be normal parliamentary procedure.
    So sure, the application of the law being overturned is different to an allegation of breaking the law by the Auditor General being made invalid.

    It’s complex to assess who’s best interest are actually being served by National’s planned actions but (to me) it’s clearly not Nationals ( although law and order is in all of our best interests so therefore is also in Nationals). It was less complex to assess such issues in 2006.

    Therefore I’ll also agree the motivators are quite different, perhaps that’s been a factor in Idiot/Savant’s change from “We won, you lost, suck it.” to “We would not accept such behaviour somewhere like Fiji, and we should not accept it here.”

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    Shame the govt didn’t pass legislation to fix this when it had the chance:

    “Mr Chauvel says Labour last year offered its support to pass the Search and Surveillance Bill with four changes that would satisfy civil liberties concerns but did not get a response.”

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/85742/labour-unconvinced-on-urgent-covert-filming-change

    So now the government is floundering around with our constitutional precedents in order to prevent being rightly blamed for some minor charges being dropped.

  16. millsy 16

    Love those right-wingers who seem to want a police force like the ones in Iran or North Korea. You know, where they have no oversight and do as they please.

    I dont know about anyone else, but Im not really keen on the cops keeping an eye on every move they make.

    If the cops actually did their jobs properly, and not acted like they were the police force of a shitty third world country, this wouldn’t have happened.

  17. HC 17

    May I hereby introduce an urgently required retrospective piece of legislation:

    Hereby I present that the ‘General Election 2008 Reversal Bill 2011’, which is an absolutely essential and urgently required new piece of legislation that must safeguard the wellbeing and security of our nation!

    The 2008 elections were conducted with certain parties presenting misleading and dishonest information and promises. The elections were also held at a “watershed” time in our history.

    The elections were won by the National Party under a Mr John (aka ‘Don’) Key (sometimes publicly referred to as the “Smilin Assassin”).

    A government was formed that had the support of minor parties like ACT and the Maori Party.

    The government that was consequently sworn in has failed to deliver on its promises and – even more serious and dangerous – failed to put the country of NZ on a track of economic recovery, improvement, required reforms, ensured progress, economic and social security and stability, thus putting our whole society and nation at the risk of collapse.

    Consequently it is essential to take urgent, emergency steps by legislating that the elections that led to this disastrous, dangerous and scandalous situation must be reversed retrospectively.

    This means that the elections and the results thereof are of no effect, that a care-taker government must immediately be appointed by the two main parties of the present parliament, and that new elections must be held by 31 December 2011.

    An election announced for 26 November 2011 cannot take place, because it was decided by a government that has retrospectively no right to have passed and introduced any kind of legislation or made any types of decisions during its invalid term of supposed “government”.

    The persons that misled the voters of NZ will be held accountable and excluded from participating in the new elections to be announced by the new care-taker government.

    I move that this bill is read for the first time.

    Yours sincerely

    The Honourable Demagogue and Manipulator

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