Summary of Facts – as requested

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 pm, January 12th, 2010 - 96 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags:

UPDATE 14/01 – my Summary of Facts
My only charge is still obstructs police – seemingly because I refused to comply with an unlawful request. Note the fact that they haven’t charged me with disorderly behaviour must mean they realise my use of a megaphone was not unlawful. I have no doubt at all that I will win this case.

POLICE v ROCHELLE REES
CHARGES
: Obstruct/Hinder Police

SUMMARY OF FACTS

INTRODUCTION
On Friday the 8th of January 2010 at about 1:05pm, the Defendant was part of an organized protest against a participant within the ASB Tennis Stadium.

CIRCUMSTANCES
Obstructs Police

The Defendant was on a grass verge next to Lower Domain Drive using a megaphone to chant messages in a manner that was reported by spectators as being disruptive.

After receiving complaints from members of the public, and on the third time using the megaphone, the Defendant was warned by Constable BAILEY for her actions. The Defendant continued to chant ignoring Constable BAILEY’s instructions and started to walk away from him.

After the Defendant continued to use the megaphone she was subsequently arrested and escorted to a Police patrol vehicle.

DEFENDANT COMMENTS
The defendant declined to comment.

The defendant has previously appeared before the Court.

ORDERS
An order is sought for the destruction of a Fanon megaphone.

Constable HOSKYN
PHZ296

—————

The first five defendants from the tennis protests last week had their plea hearing this morning. John Darroch has kindly given me permission to publish his summary of facts. The summary of facts for the rest of the defendants are pretty much the same. I will post my summary of facts in the comments section on this thread after my court hearing on Thursday – I don’t want to tie up more of the front page with this stuff.

POLICE V JOHN DARROCH
CHARGES:
Disorderly Behaviour & Obstruct/Hinder Police

SUMMARY OF FACTS

INTRODUCTION
On the 7th of January 2010 at the ASB Tennis Stadium on Tennis Lane in Auckland City, the ASB Classic Women’s Tennis Tournament was in progress. This is a large event with international players and an audience of approximately 3000 spectators in attendance.

CIRCUMSTANCES
At about 11.00am the Defendant, John Paul DARROCH was at the corner of Tennis lane and Lower Domain Drive, Auckland City. The Defendant was part of a protest group consisting of approximately 20 persons outside the ASB Tennis Stadium.

The Defendant was present when the group’s organizer was given warnings by police Sergeant Marcus CHAWNER regarding the level of noise and the use of loud hailers during the protest. The group was advised of the consequences of continuing their actions at the current noise levels.

These warnings stemmed from a number of complaints from spectators within the stadium stating that the group’s noise level was clearly audible and could be heard over the stadium’s public address system. The event organizers also complained that the group’s actions were disruptive to the match in progress. Emotions were running so high that one spectator told the Police that if they were unable to stop the noise from the protestors that he and his friends would take matters into their own hands.

The Defendant was further witness to other members of the protest group being arrested for breaching the peace through the use of excessive noise.

In response to the arrest of his associates, the Defendant climbed a tree and refused to come down at Police requests. He proceeded to chant and yell slogans through a megaphone loud hailer inciting his associates to do the same. The Defendant was seeking to disrupt an Israeli tennis player who was playing at the time and the event’s spectators/supporters. He was subsequently arrested.

The Defendant gave no explanation for his actions.

The Defendant is a 21 year old male student. He has not previously appeared before the Court.

ORDERS
On conviction, an order for the destruction of the exhibit is requested by the Police.

Constable CLEMENTS
LCY768

96 comments on “Summary of Facts – as requested”

  1. I have read many thousands of summaries of facts in my time and I have not read a summary like this one. I suspect that the Police have had PR assistance in drafting it. Normally a summary for this sort of offence would be much shorter and I have never seen an “introduction” in a summary.

    All the best for John. Any photos?

    • rocky 1.1

      Looks pretty normal to me! But interesting to hear another take on it. Pics are on a previous post. Great one of the policeman up the tree 😉

    • felix 1.2

      Agreed mickey. An unusual amount of “scene-setting” for want of a better phrase.

  2. It is going to be interesting for the police trying to prove their case bearing in mind the previous decisions.

    Effectively they have to prove that the noise nuisance value of the loud hailers was different from the other cases that clearly state that protests are allowed to cause noise including loudhailers.

    Interesting that a threat of violence towards the protesters was put into the SOF. Whats the bet that the police try to argue that the arrests were done for the protesters benefit…

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I want to know if the people threatening violence were arrested.

      • rocky 2.1.1

        They weren’t.

        • Idiot/Savant 2.1.1.1

          Why not? Threatening a breach of the peace is a crime, and it is the police’s duty to protect protestors from physical violence.

          • gitmo 2.1.1.1.1

            Why should we take someone seriously who says that Valerie Morse’s conviction for offensive behaviour for burning a flag at an Anzac Day dawn service in 2007 as an Orwellian ruling on free speech ?

            http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2010/01/orwellian-ruling-on-free-speech.html

            Aren’t protesters able to protest without making complete arses out of themselves ?

            Aren’t most protesters not prohibited from protesting and not arrested or convicted ?

            • rocky 2.1.1.1.1.1

              So you’re saying having an opinion on one thing precludes an opinion on another?

              That flag burning case is useful for further determining the boundaries for lawful protest – I do hope it goes to the Supreme Court as they are best equipped to make the decision. This bearing in mind that the Court of Appeal upheld Brooker’s conviction which the Supreme Court then overturned.

              • gitmo

                I’m saying that one’s previous utterings on such matters can be a pointer to their position no matter what the circumstances.

                Why on earth would you want the case of a facile moron burning the NZ flag at dawn service to go to the high court surely you have an internal voice which tells you that some things are just plain stupid and offensive.

              • rocky

                Stupid and offensive is a matter of opinion, and you’re welcome to think so. Whether unlawful/criminal is an entirely different matter.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.2

            Actually, I believe* the simple threat of violence to adjust someones behaviour, in this case the behaviour of the police, was a crime. Quite interesting that the police mention such a crime in a summary of facts for another crime. And the fact that it was a crime that they didn’t do anything about.

            * I was on jury duty for such a case a few years ago

  3. Jenny 3

    From the police official summary of the facts:

    “one spectator told the Police that if they were unable to stop the noise from the protestors that he and his friends would take matters into their own hands.”

    Let me get this-

    Police say they were moved to act when a member of the audience made threats to take matters into his own hands against the protesters.

    An interesting legal precedent.

    I can threaten someone else and be able to get the police to arrest that person to stop me acting against them.

    Genius

    • Chris 3.1

      And that’s the part that doesn’t ring quite true. Perhaps someone did complain to the police – but to the extent of saying that they would take the law into their own hands? I don’t think so.

      Kiiwi’s aren’t that aggressive about things – normally we are polite and law-abiding – our violence tends to be masked and hidden but not displayed to an extent that we would tell the police (who’s very job it is to enforce the law) that we would do their job for them.

      This part doesn’t ring true at all.

      • rob 3.1.1

        some kiwis are aggressive, especially if they have paid for something, and it is not being delivered or disrupted by outside influences.

        I have seen it at carparks, shops, concerts so why not Tennis.

        It rings true to me.

        • Chris 3.1.1.1

          No, it doesn’t.

          Some Kiwis are aggressive if they have paid for something and it isn’t delivered by factors within the operators control. The aggression there is ‘justified’ but I’ve never seen aggression to the extent that someone physically wants to ‘take control’ – meaning to utilise their body to control another person – usually we shy away from doing this as it achieves very little and merely inflames the situation for little gain.

          If the event isn’t delivered by factors outside of the operators control, then we tend to put our sympathies with the operator in the sense of ‘we’re all in this together mate – I share your frustration’.

          To utter a statement that ‘I’ll take matters into my own hands’ means that the person could be drunk – a possibility given the free availability of alcohol at the event – in which case the Police would need to prosecute the event management company for breach of the liquor licence – or quite irrational – as in wingnut irrational – in which case the Police would need to ignore such sentiment. To rely on such sentiment is folly.

          I suspect that members of the crowd watching the tennis were aggrieved, but not to a point where they would ‘take matters into their own hands’. Given that the Police were already there – and given that we are told and we know that we are to leave policing to the professionals – I don’t think it likely that someone uttered the words “I’ll deal with it myself.”

          It just doesn’t ring true.

          • Tigger 3.1.1.1.1

            It’s a new world order under National – being aggressive towards lefty dissents is in…witness the fact that McCully doesn’t care about citizens getting run over by whaling boats because they’re asking for it. The Bully State was always going to have an effect. This is just a symptom of a less tolerant society.

      • Jenny 3.1.2

        I agreewith you Chris that this ‘evidence” sounds a bit dodgy.

        For a start, unless this person is being called as a witness it is hearsay, and therefore unadmissable.

        I find it laughable that this sort evidence is even being put in front of a judge.

        • felix 3.1.2.1

          I suspect that, as mickey suggested, that sentence was written more for its PR value than anything else, knowing it was likely to end up in the public arena.

          It’s a sentiment which is likely to resonate with a lot of people but the police and the law typically take a very firm stance on anyone “taking the law into their own hands” as not only is it a threat to public order it’s also a (direct or indirect) challenge to the entire system of law and order.

          Normally anyone making such threats would be arrested themselves or at the very least cautioned against taking any such steps. There should be records if this is the case.

          edit: duh, I see you’ve already said all of this below.

      • Babar 3.1.3

        “And that’s the part that doesn’t ring quite true. Perhaps someone did complain to the police but to the extent of saying that they would take the law into their own hands? I don’t think so.”

        Chris, you obviously did not participate in the anti-Springbok marches, LOL.

  4. Jenny 4

    According to the police a member of the audience was threatening, with the help of his mates, to act against the protesters.

    Was this person officially cautioned?

    If not why, not?

    If he was cautioned, in the opinion of the police, did this have the desired affect of dissuading him of carrying out his threat?

    Wouldn’t this have been a better course of action than arresting the protesters?

    If the caution did have the desired affect, why did the police think there was still a need to arrest the protesters?

    If the caution didn’t have the desired affect and this person was still intent on gathering his mates “to act” against the protesters, Why wasn’t he arrested as well.

    In my understanding of a police caution, the police take your name and address and ask you to desist from your proposed course of action under threat of arrest.

  5. Brett 5

    Honestly pal
    If you had paid good money to watch a game of tennis and it was been ruined by a bunch of annoying fuck wits, the urge to kick their heads in would be quite intense.

    • Jenny 5.1

      Intense enough to get your name taken by the police? Brett

    • Chris 5.2

      Understandably, but not to the extent of ‘taking matters into my own hands. A normal rational person would blame the weather, blame the organisers, blame the seat they are sitting on, wish for rain, wish for another drink, use the time to do some work wirelessly, wonder about their boyfriend, pick their nose.

      In other words justifications for the ‘urge’ would be sought, but not, given the situation, to the extent of physically ‘kicking someone’s head in’, and telling the Police about your intention to do so – although you may wish it and verbalise it to your mates.

      • Brett 5.2.1

        Not every one thinks quite as logically as you Chris.
        The job of the police is to maintain law and order, they have to act upon complaints as they don’t know if the complainant is serious or not.

        • Chris 5.2.1.1

          Thankyou Brett for the compliment.

          The use of logic and the power of observations extends to figuring out if things ring true or not – which clearly, they don’t in the summary of facts.

          We note that the statement ‘I’ll take matters into my own hands’ isn’t a complaint – it’s a supporting statement.

          The Police not surprisingly can choose to act or not on complaints. When we complain to the Police there is a judging process that occurs – basically, and grossly “Is persuing this complaint worth my time, effort and will it stack up in the paper file, is it a serious logical complaint?”. If the answer is no, then the Police will choose not to act on it.

          Threatening a complaint such as “I’ll take matters into my own hands” would be dismissed out of hand instantly. The Police would have to ‘prosecute’ that person – no-one can unsurp the role of Police, and a rational person knows this. Which means, if true, the fact that someone uttered the words “I’ll take matters into my own hands” would either have to be drunk or irrational – wingnut irrational.

          Both possibilities are plausible given the amount of alcohol freely available, and the large numbers of white middle class men (I’m one) who paid money to watch young girls play tennis. But both possibilities are discounted as the Police don’t appear to be investigating the liquor licence, and I seriously doubt that wingnuts would be so irrational as to utter such a statement.

          • Crash Cart 5.2.1.1.1

            Or the police felt that it wasn’t a serious threat but was an indication of the disturbance the protest was causing paying tennis fans. It could have been included as an example of how irate the protest was making fans.

            Type face gives no indication as to the emotions of those involved. It could be that the fan who said this to the police was using it as a method of voicing his anger. Whether you think that is over the top or not is a personal view. The policeman there at the time would be able to decide if it was merely someone voicing how annoyed they were getting in a manner to draw a response.

          • felix 5.2.1.1.2

            Threatening a complaint such as “I’ll take matters into my own hands’ would be dismissed out of hand instantly.

            Not at all. This type of threat is usually dealt with very firmly.

            • Chris 5.2.1.1.2.1

              True. But Granny didn’t report on that action – the action of firmly dealing with such a threat – which begs the question – was it made?

          • Brett 5.2.1.1.3

            Hypothetically speaking
            What about if some one decided to go into Otara with a loud hailer and started yelling that Maori people are involved in a disproportional amount of crime and should be ashamed of themselves, thus causing a violent reaction and threatening behaviour.
            Should the police arrest the people making the threats or remove the person inciting the violence?.

    • Jenny 5.3

      Intense enough to get your name taken by the police? Brett

      And the possibility of getting called as a witness?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      Only by those who are psychopaths.

    • Jenny 5.5

      “Saying she asked for it, is not OK”

      “Violence it is not OK”

      Don’t you have a TV Brett.

      Don’t you watch the ads.

  6. Crash Cart 6

    Have to agree that I would be getting pretty hot under the collar if I had paid good money for an event only to have someone impinge on that. Your welcome to your political views but do you really need to interfere with the day of someone who doesn’t give a toss? Perhaps the police felt the rights of a couple of thousand paying tennis fans were being impinged on by 20 protesters and that the stated example was merely an indicator of some of the repercussions that could be seen.

    • Chris 6.1

      “…stated example was merely an indicator of some of the repercussions that could be seen.”

      A poor example if indeed this is the case. I suspect the summary of facts engages in hyperbole in order to generate some ‘justification’ for the chain of events that occurred.

      It just doesn’t ring true.

      • Crash Cart 6.1.1

        It doesn’t ring true because you don’t want it to. In my time I have seen may people make staments to the police that when written down on paper would look as though they intended to break the law. This is a pretty classic “if you can’t do something then do I have to” sort of statement.

        I have no doubt that the police wouldn’t go past embellishing but I personally don’t think this particular part wouldn’t ring true. To be honest your own statements in plain text read to me as someone trying to dismiss the real anger that fans would have been feeling towards the protesters. This is probably not the case but the fact remains that it is open to interpretation.

        • Chris 6.1.1.1

          No, it doesn’t ring true because it doesn’t ring true. I can’t alter that fact.

          It’s not a question of my wanting it or not.

          I’m not sure that it’s a ‘classic’ statement to make – I very rarely hear that statement, and I very rarely see that statement being reported or talked about or discussed. It’s a very rare statement to be made by white middle class older male fans, made in rare situations, and consequently, it doesn’t ring true in this case.

          I understand the frustration and angry feelings that white middle class older male fans would have (I am white and middle class, but not older) but I don’t think that those fans would have, given our cultural conditioning and the complexity of societal relations, made a statement along the lines of “I’ll deal with them myself”. It just doesn’t ring true.

          If anything, the summary of facts highlights the problems of converting speech into text – which you have highlighted.

          • Rob 6.1.1.1.1

            It doesnt need to ring true to you Chris, its whether it is true.

          • Crash Cart 6.1.1.1.2

            Number one you are making a lot of assumptions. No where does it say it was a male, white, middle class older person. Thats a hell of a lot of descriptors you are attaching to try and make it a statement that would not be heard. I agree that the majority of those there would have fallen into the above catagory but you can’t assume that it was one of those people. The presence of people who fall outside of your narrow perspective in the matter leave open the door that it is true.

            Ringing true is a matter of perspective. you may not feel that it seems off because of your perspective. I personally don’t because I am also a white middle class man and I have heard this sort of statement made directly to police. Perhaps not those direct words but words to that effect.

            It by no means indicates you are incorrect but it by no means means what the police are saying is not true. I concede that you are not saying out right that the statement isn’t true so I guess I am not really disagreeing with you on your own feels as to its validity. That is for you to decide. I just feel that it does sound plausible to me.

    • lprent 6.2

      The protests are likely to be found by the courts to be lawful. That means that the ‘rights’ are pretty well equal as far as the law is concerned. If the police wish to arrest someone, then they should do it for something that is unlawful.

      I regularly have people impinging on my life, especially when Xmas in the park (the parking is crap), or that bloody telecom tree was up the road (parking again), and I pay considerably more for my apartments than a ticket to the tennis. You tolerate it because those things are lawful.

      As far as I can see you’re saying I should get pissed off at those, and complain to the police. Now multiply that out infinitely into chaos.

      If parliament had wanted to make protest illegal then they would have done so despite the political costs of doing so (ie rebellion, revolution, passive resistance). They haven’t. So why are the police trying to do so – they have no authority to make that level of policy decision.

      • Crash Cart 6.2.1

        On the other hand though if you hired a video and then couldn’t watch it because someone was out on the street yelling at your house through a loud haler you would be able to call noise control. If they ignored the requests of noise control to cease then the person could be arrested for disturbing the peace. That is more along the lines of how I see this particular event.

        The police can lawfully tell the protesters that they are disturbing the piece and to desist. If they choose ont to then they can be arrested.

        • rocky 6.2.1.1

          You’re misinterpreting the law.

          Noise control has nothing to do with disturbing the peace. Noise control have a maximum sound threshold that for a start differs depending on what time of the day it is. All noise control can do is confiscate the item making the noise.

          Police arresting people for disturbing the peace has nothing to do with volume, other than where there are complaints…

          The police can lawfully tell the protesters that they are disturbing the piece and to desist. If they choose ont to then they can be arrested.

          Only if the assertion by police that the person is disturbing the peace is true in the first place. If not, you don’t have to comply with their warning.

          I would be interested to see a ruling from a higher court regarding noisy protests at someones house. It seems that matter hasn’t been 100% cleared up by the courts yet, but the sort of situation like that at the tennis has been.

          • Crash Cart 6.2.1.1.1

            Not true.

            A noise control officer can be called at any time and they make the judgment with out the aid of any equipment.

            If they feel the noise is excessive then they can issue a notice to cease. If you choose not to then they can confiscate equipment. If you choose to continue to be excessive through other means they can call the police and you can be arrested for disturbing the piece.

            I am not sure if it is the case but I know that a noise control officer is merely a security guard contracted and issued a warrant by the council. I would imagine that a sworn police constable would have the same powers to act. Again I am not sure on that fact.

            • lprent 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Interesting. The ones I’ve had turn up have always carried monitoring equipment (and been council employees). In an apartment block you always get late parties.

              But in any case, the noise levels would have been insufficient during the day in that area if it is where I think it is. The protesters would have been drowned out periodically by the trucks heading to the port. I’ll ask rocky next time I catch up with her.

              I’d bet that any attempt to rely on a noise persecution would be laughed out of court.

              • lukas

                The noise levels are not dictated by law Iprent, it is up to the judgment of the individual officer…this was in Waitakere a few years ago when I worked for the council.

                • lprent

                  Really? I suspect it is up to different councils. At least the ones coming to the parties at 3am were quite certain that it didn’t hit the guidelines…..

                  Anyway, noise would be irrelevant here. As I said, the trucks would be noisier than the megaphones.

                  • Crash Cart

                    There is also still ambiguity as to polices ability to take on a noise enforcements officers responsibilities. It could be that they can but really there is nothing I have seen that proves they can. This means that the whole process leading up to arrests should it be based on a noise complaint would be on shakey ground any way.

  7. ieuan 7

    Let’s not forget that the protests were over a number of days. Fair enough making your point on the first day but by the second or third day most peoples patience would be wearing a bit thin.

    • lprent 7.1

      That is the point of protests. You do them whenever the opportunity arises. The convenience of the public or police isn’t a consideration. Being able to get the message across is.

      John Minto was doing protests at tennis in 1990 against the inclusion of South African players for exactly the same reason.

      • Crash Cart 7.1.1

        That is fair enough but I also think the police need to be able to take into consideration the rights of those who were there to actually enjoy the tennis as opposed to the rights of those who are protesting. If they felt that the latter were unnecessarily impinging on the former then they need to take action which is what they did.

        The protesters got media attention early in the piece. Sure the continued disturbance keeps a higher level of media interest, but lets be honest so do the arrests. The protesters could have been loud to start thereby getting interest then used their presence alone to continue to make their point. That would have been more considerate. Instead 20 people decided that their own political opinion was more important than the enjoyment of all the paying customers in the venue.

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          but I also think the police need to be able to take into consideration the rights of those who were there to actually enjoy the tennis as opposed to the rights of those who are protesting

          That is the job of the courts to determine – not the police.

          The courts have been pretty damn clear in Brooker v R and in Rees v R that protests are allowed to cause nuisance and offense to others. That is because ALL forms of protest cause nuisance or offense to someone. There have been complaints about people just standing around with mournful expressions for gods sake.

          The only real issue here is that the police arrested, presumably as a result of a complaint from the tennis. It is likely that the arrests will be ruled unlawful. Maybe it is time for a big civil suit against the tennis and the police for their actions.

          • gitmo 7.1.1.1.1

            And you’ll be taking a big civil suit against the tennis for what exactly ?

            How much would you expect to be awarded in the best case scenario for taking a case against the police …. would it exceed your costs ?

            • lprent 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Probably. Therein lies the problem….

              As I’ve said before there is little recourse if the police arrest you unlawfully. The IPCA is toothless as well.

              • gitmo

                Bottom line Lynn it is no surprise that there were arrests and the protestors were happy to be arrested as it gave them the coverage and extra kudos they were craving.

                I expect most people have moved on now apart from those awaiting their day in court (and I expect it will be no more than a day in court if that)

                • lprent

                  Nope. It is a continuing question as the police keep arresting and getting it thrown out of court.

                  Seems like a way of wasting the overcrowded courts time and resources by the police.

          • Crash Cart 7.1.1.1.2

            It seems to me though they are approaching it more like a noise complaint. They point out that spectators made complaints. They warned the protesters that they were being to loud. When their warning were ignored they arrested them. I would expect nothing different were my neighbors having a loud party at 2am in the middle of the week.

            The police make determinations as to how to proceed in complex situations all the time. We have legislation that is completely reliant on their judgment as to when they should arrest someone. To say that this sort of decision should always be made in the courts would flood our court system and render it useless.

            • lprent 7.1.1.1.2.1

              There are clear rules about levels of noise enforced by the council. However this wouldn’t fly for a megaphone in the middle of the day, and where a noise control officer capable of doing the measurement wasn’t called.

              Will not work in court.

              • lukas

                You would be surprised what the noise control officers can stop. I am not sure if the by-laws are different to those in Waitakere or if they have changed much from my time working for the council as a student, but they could easily confiscate a megaphone and issue them with an END.

              • lprent

                Yeah, they can indeed if the measured noise was higher than the guidelines.

                a. However that wasn’t done here.

                b. I suspect that the noise from a megaphone wouldn’t be significantly different to one of the council mowers.

                c. The permissible noise levels during the day outside of residential areas are really high.

              • Crash Cart

                Sorry but that is not correct. My brother ran noise control in central and south Auckland for a number of years. The only measurement that had to be made would be for the investigating warranted person to stand at the point indicated by the complainant (be it their bedroom or the street outside). If the noise could be heard and the officer felt it was excessive then they could issue a notice requiring that the offending person cease. Also complaints are not restricted to night time. he would get regular complaints on the weekend during the day about people mowing their lawns or doing DIY. Under the law if the noise was loud at the indicated point then a notice had to be issued.

    • rocky 7.2

      by the second or third day most peoples patience would be wearing a bit thin

      Perhaps, but there’s no legal matter there.

  8. Emotions were running so high that one spectator told the Police that if they were unable to stop the noise from the protestors that he and his friends would take matters into their own hands.

    Interesting that the Police chose to arrest those who were the potential victims of an assault.

    • lukas 8.1

      I imagine it was a figure of speech Micky, just like when Iprent told someone to go shoot themselves last year.

  9. Stan 9

    I could tell you many a story about the Police threatening to arrest me because my presence was making someone else aggravated. My favourite was standing on Waterloo Quay, 40-50 meters away from the Police as they interviewed a Mongrel Mob member outside the Wellington Railway Station. I had my TV camera at my feet and wasn’t recording (I had enough vision, and was waiting to see if the guy was going to be arrested. He matched the description of a man wanted for an Auckland murder). The cop had to walk all the way over to me to tell me that my being there was making the Mobster angry, and consequently they (the Police) couldn’t do their job. I was obstructing them in the course of the duties and would be arrested unless I moved away. I asked how far, and he wouldn’t tell me.

    Stuff like this happens relatively often. They are constantly telling us what we can and can’t film.

    • Crash Cart 9.1

      I’m not passing judgment on you stan but would you have felt bad had you not moved away and the person the police had dealt with became violent because of it and a police officer got injured? Would you have felt any responsibility or would you have lain it all at the offenders feet even though the police had let you know that your presence could aggravate the situation?

  10. John 10

    Just spotted this, needless to say I will be disputing the police facts which they have dreamed up to justify the charges. I was never clearly warned, never heard any instruction to stop using the megaphone etc etc. Instead they just arrested me and the others to shut us up, arrest first concoct a story to justify the arrests later.

    There are a couple of videos of the incidents so the facts shouldnt be disputable from either side when and if it ever turns up in a court room.

    As an aside I just got two more megaphones and so if the police want to stick to the “nuisance equals disorderly behaviour” line then we will see more arrests.

    • gitmo 10.1

      “Just spotted this, needless to say I will be disputing the police facts which they have dreamed up to justify the charges. I was never clearly warned, never heard any instruction to stop using the megaphone etc etc. Instead they just arrested me and the others to shut us up, arrest first concoct a story to justify the arrests later.”

      Umm so you just thought you’d go for a climb at that tree for a bit of fun ?

    • rocky 10.2

      Thanks for that John. I did think about writing that you dispute a couple of the facts – but decided not to bother as even just on the police facts there is nothing unlawful on your part.

    • Brett 10.3

      I think Rocky fancies you John, get arrested a couple more times and you could be in with a chance.

    • lukas 10.4

      Isn’t there a video of your arrest?

  11. Members of the public made a noise complaint, the police acted on it, fair enough.

  12. Crash Cart 12

    I understand that a noise control officers warrant allows for them to call the police to enforce END’s. However that doesn’t exclude the possibility that the warrant that a sworn police office receives gives them the power to carry out the same duties as a noise control officer. Do police have the power or per view to enforce local council bylaws? If so then excessive noise may be something they can deal with from the first step. However I have not seen anything that confirms this. There seem to be a lot of people around here who a know a lot more about that sort of thing than I do.

    ***That’s a bit weird this was in response to the bottom comment by lukas but it shunted it up here.***

  13. Seti 13

    Summary Offences Act 1981
    S3. Disorderly behaviour
    Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a
    fine not exceeding $2,000 who, in or within view of any public place, behaves,
    or incites or encourages any person to behave, in a riotous, offensive,
    threatening, insulting, or disorderly manner that is likely in the
    circumstances to cause violence against persons or property to start or
    continue.

    I would not have thought a noisey protest would have met the threshold that is ‘likely to cause violence against persons or property’. If that is now the standard then any one person can now stop a protest by complaining and stating they will take matters into their own hands.

    Wonder how that would have worked at the Foreshore hikoi?

    Actually I thought S37 of the SOA would’ve been more appropriate –
    37 Disturbing meetings
    Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $200 who, in any public
    place, unreasonably disrupts any meeting, congregation, or audience.

  14. Jenny 14

    Despite repeating subjective and hearsay evidence (from unnamed spectators) that the hand held loud hailers could be heard over the stadium’s public address system.

    In their Summary of the facts the police do not seem to be arguing that the noise of the protest is the main issue.

    The loudness of tennis matches including crowd noise and amplified umpire calls is loud.

    Probably for this reason:

    Stanly street tennis arena is sited in a commercial business district on a busy main road and motorway exit.

    The tennis courts backs onto a public park, (The Auckland Domain).

    If the police are seriously arguing that they are arresting the protesters and confiscating their megaphones for making to much noise.

    Why haven’t they confiscated the public address system of tennis stadium?

    Why haven’t they arrested the organisers and all the spectators?

    The police Summary of the facts says the police were moved to act by threats made against the protesters, by unnamed individuals.

    Frankly arresting the protesters seems a bit wrong headed.

    If these threats were so serious as the police are suggesting, necessitating them to make arrests of the protesters, why were the people making the threats not arrested?

    • Chris 14.1

      I work near the tennis stadium. The noise from the loudspeaker and the announcer is pretty loud and I can hear it in my office – some several hundred meters away.

  15. Jenny 15

    The reason for the arrests.

    The motives for the police actions as described in their SOE can only be described as weak and hardly a cause for arrest.

    So what what could it be that moved the police to act against the protesters?

    If it wasn’t the noise.

    If It wasn’t the threats made against the protesters.

    That leaves one other reason.

    The message.

    The message from the protesters was that by ignoring the call for a boycott against Israel and instead hosting a competitor from that country The ASB Tennis Classic was condoning that state’s racist policy of apartheid and horrific violence against it’s Palestinian population.

    The supporters of the crackdown on the protest have argued that the target of the protesters, was an innocent victim of the place of her birth, and that by targeting an innocent sports woman going about her business, the protesters were in the wrong and guilty of bullying, racism and even anti-Semitism, directed against this individual.

    Whether you support or oppose this (political) view or not.

    I doubt the police will try and defend this argument in court, instead they will try and skirt around the issue. The police will try and limit their case to arguments around their flimsy pretexts for arresting demonstrators, noise, threats of violence etc. Though legally weak this line of prosecution avoids the police having to justify making decisions based on a certain political viewpoint.

    This increasingly conservative anti-protest stance of the police has been noticeably growing over the years.

    Sooner or later the police if they continue this direction will have to defend it.

    • gitmo 15.1

      No, the police acted against the protesters because of the noise, they made it quite clear that the protesters could stay and protest if they’d desist with the loud hailing.

      There is nothing to suggest that the police acted because of the message being delivered by the protesters ………. no matter how retarded that message was at times.

      • felix 15.1.1

        Not as clear as you might like to believe, gitmo.

        As Jenny points out above if noise was the issue there would have to have been a lot more arrests.

        Use the force, git. Your heart is telling you one type of noise is legitimate and another is not.

        Disagrees with you, the law does.

      • lprent 15.1.2

        Yep that is what it nominally looks like. However they went directly against a previous judgments about using loudhailers at protests.

        So you’d have to guess that the police are wanting to overrule the previous judgment. It is notable that they used a different charge against rocky who set that precedent. I wonder why?

        Of course if they just wanted to arrest the protesters because the organizers of the tennis wanted them to, then you’d have to ask exactly what made them think that was appropriate? Money perhaps? Political pressure? whatever.

        As Jenny says I don’t think that the real reasons will show in court….

        However the case against rocky will be interesting. There is no requirement for a citizen to listen to a policeman talking crap where they obviously don’t know the law. Charging her with obstruction because she turned away and ignored one when he started repeating the incorrect information isn’t going to fly. I’m afraid that hurting a policemans feelings doesn’t sound like a good basis for a charge.

  16. rocky 16

    My Summary of Facts has been added to the top of this post.

  17. From the summary of facts it doesn’t sound at all like you were obstructing Police, rather you were assisting them by moving away.

    You may hate my politics, and in the the case of Zetitic me personally, but I support your right to protest and there is no way you should ever have been arrested in this case.

    Of course I will now be roundly abused by your readers but hey that is their way of expressing free speech so all power to them.

    You see much and all as some of your posters like to play the person, they forget sometimes the principles, just in the same way as i don’t personally like John Minto. However I will never support denying him his right to rant and shout on street corners and that is the difference between me and some of you guys.

    • rocky 17.1

      Thanks Cameron – nice to see you support the right to protest!

      I disagree with you breaching name supression and think the police were right to charge you, however unlike some here I don’t believe you should end up with bail conditions preventing you from blogging (though one to stop you breaching further supression orders would seem warranted).

      I do think it’s a little bit rich you complaining about people playing the person – it seems to be something you regularly do on your blog.

      • Whaleoil 17.1.1

        I’ll support the right to protest till the day i die.

        It is called Freedom of Expression and is guaranteed under teh Bill of Rights.

        They would also be in breach of that if they tried to stop me blogging. But then they might find out about the Spartacus Effect.

        I’ll take your comments on board.

    • felix 17.2

      Good on you Cameron.

  18. Draco T Bastard (mobile) 18

    DEFENDANT COMMENTS
    The defendant declined to comment.

    Interesting. Didn’t you say that you had reminded them of the court case that specifically made what you were doing legal?

    Or is that something that happened before the arrest and so doesn’t appear in the summary of facts? Although, I’m pretty sure it’d still be relevant.

    EDIT: Why was this put so far up the thread?

    • John 18.1

      To be honest the cops didnt even ask me for a statement, I kept repeating my arrest was unlawful but by that stage they did not seem interested in recording anything.

      The bit about me explaining the right of protesters to make noise even if it may be construed as annoying came earlier.

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