Terrorism charges blocked

Written By: - Date published: 4:12 pm, November 8th, 2007 - 17 comments
Categories: news - Tags:

The Solicitor general has decided against allowing prosecutions under the Terrorism Suppression Act for all 12 people referred to him by the police and is making an announcement in Wellington now to that effect.

According to Newsroom:

He says the key reason he is not prepared to authorise prosecutions is that there is insufficient evidence to establish to the very high standard required that a group or entity was planning or preparing to commit a terrorism act, as the term is defined under the current legislation.

Mr Collins was severely critical of the legislation and said it was unnecessarily complex and incoherent, and as a result it was almost impossible to apply to the circumstances of this case.

There’ll be some red faces over this one.

17 comments on “Terrorism charges blocked”

  1. Sam Dixon 1

    It wasn’t going to be good either if there really was a pan-activist guerilla movement in training (which no-one in the left activist movement had ever heard of), or the Police were heavy-handed and lacked proper intelligence-gathering capabilties.

    Broad put his credibiltiy on the line over this. I expect he’s going to have to lose it now.

  2. “There’ll be some red faces over this one.”

    That would imply that those responsible have a sense of shame.

    Reading their press release, and listening to MPs in Parliament, its very clear that they don’t.

    And people wonder why people have so little respect for the police.

  3. Robinsod 3

    I had a friend lifted in this fiasco and held without bail for nearly two weeks. He’s one of the most gentle guys I know and they’ve put his friends and family through the wringer for no good reason – I hope someone burns for this shit.

  4. Santa Claws 4

    Nice work Sam – start distancing the government from this action. Still I suppose it continues Helen Clarks theme of disposing police commissioners.

    Really, it is the politicians who should be embarrased here. Like so much law it seems that the TSA is badly drafted, and useless in practice. The police are the poor suckers who have to try and make use of the bad law. I assume both Labour and National voted for it.

    In this sort of legislation I am much more inclined to listen to Keith Locke and Rodney Hide as they generally believe in protecting citizens from the predations of the state. (although IIRC ACT might have voted for the original bill)

  5. dave 5

    Legislatin was “unnecessarily complex and incoherent”. Being incoherent ia a Labour value, isnt it?

    Whats the point of having incoherent legislation when the Solicitor General tells you it’s crap. Perhaps he should make a ruling on the EFB now. THen they can make it “necessarly incoherent”

  6. illuminatedtiger 6

    Hi David,
    How was your day at Curia today?

    On a more serious note, guys this is great news! A family member knew one of the accused, and yeah the most gentle guy apparently.

  7. Robinsod 7

    DPF Claws – You’re always looking for the spin in everything aren’t you?

    Dave – well done you’ve managed to mention the EFB again. It’s an obsession for you isn’t it? Good to see you’re staying on message even if your segues are a little strained. I’ll give you a “b-” for misdirection but unfortunately have to mark you down severely for lack of literacy and coherence. Have you considered taking some kind of literacy course? ‘Cos you could probably do quite well with a bit of book learnin’ under y’ belt.

  8. This is hardly an exoneration of the alleged terrorists. Nor is it any criticism of the Police. The SG specifically said that the Police were right to bring the charges.

    The real fuck-up is the Government’s inability to draft coherent legislation that the SG can apply. I can’t remember a time when the crown’s most senior law officer has ever been so damning of an act of Parliament.

    Thanks to Helen Clark’s inability to enact coherent legislation, the most that the Police can bring against the accused are firearms charges. What an absolute disgrace.

  9. Robinsod 9

    Hon MURRAY McCULLY (National—East Coast Bays) : The National Party supports the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill. Indeed, we have been calling for some time for amendments to make this country’s counter-terrorism machinery more workable.

    Hansard: [Volume:643;Page:12667]

    Ha – the captcha is “aggressive clowns” (honestly, you couldn’t make this shit up.)

  10. Yes, Robinsod. Because Murray McCully was the responsible Minister who introduced the legislation. The legislative drafting was done on McCully’s instructions. McCully introduced the Bill, and vouched in Parliament that the Bill would withstand judicial scrutiny.

    You don’t get the point. McCully agreed that stricter measures were needed to ensure that New Zealand could deal with terrorism in New Zealand. The Government failed to provide workable legislation. But you would blame the Opposition, because you’ve got no leg to stand on.

  11. Robinsod 11

    Oh dear – and while I’m trolling Hansard (no troll jokes please) here’s our man Wayne Mapp on the Iraq war in 2003:

    But I just say, in conclusion, that I taught international law for a number of years. While I understand its importance in the international framework, I also understand it is an imperfect system. There is no global police force. The enforcement of international law actually depends on nation States lending their sovereign forces to implement the principles of law. Today we are seeing a coalition of our most trusted friends and allies doing precisely that in Iraq. New Zealand is not there. We will pay a price for that, because we have said we put all our belief in the United Nations.

    Yep Wayne – we paid a price alright. And JK’s still paying it…

  12. Robinsod 12

    You’re right IP – I don’t get the point. Are you saying National voted for this legislation but it’s all Helen Clark’s fault? Or perhaps you should just cut to the chase and call me a liar again. I mean bro, just give up and go back to Kiwiblog. I’m sure even you can pass as an intellectual over there.

  13. He’s just helpfully pointing out that under National, the STA would be even more Draconian and oppressive than it is under Labour. Thanks IP, but we did know that already.

  14. You must be very proud to live in a country, Robinsod, where alleged terrorists can’t be charged because the Government’s legislation is unworkable.

    What next will you be calling for? Asylum for Osama?

  15. deemac 15

    I think that’s called a non sequitur –
    IP must be rattled…

  16. Robinsod (moderator) 16

    deemac – not so much rattled as too stupid to run a real argument. Too much time scoring cheap punter points in the bog I’d say.

  17. AncientGeek 17

    It really does not surprise me. I’ve personally seen all of this before at a smaller scale with a young relative. Consequently the police have no credibility with me on this kind of conspiracy by association – and I make that opinion widely known.

    Somewhere in the police there are some dickheads (probably in the Threats Assessment Unit) who are utterly paranoid about activists being terrorists. It is laudable that there is someone watching for the local terrorists (not that I can see any) – but their strategy and tactics just bring the police into disrepute, and more importantly reduce their effectiveness for when there is a real problem. They also interfere in the political process of keeping issues bubbling away in public where they can be resolved (eventually).

    The problem is that when they (whoever the clowns are) get a suspicion, rather than actually finding out what is happening (say by talking to the people who know them), they tend to land on their victims with draconian measures. If the police bothered to find out about the people they’re interested in – they’d probably find out there isn’t likely to be a problem.

    In this case, you’ll probably find that there are a few nuts who talk wildly (but are not effective), who have a loose association with people with other activist interests. All of a sudden it becomes a big conspiracy, and with some puffing of ‘evidence’ in the application for a search warrant, becomes a big operation that takes a life of its own. Someone in the police has a bad problem with understanding that they should not look at guilt by association in activist groups. The characteristic of any activist group I’ve ever seen in NZ is that if there are 10 people in a ‘group’, then there are 10 different opinions on how to proceed on any single issue. Public activist “groups” are generally incredibly uncohesive.

    Some of the search warrant applications I’ve seen make me wonder if anyone in the judicary actually reads them. Full of pages from websites that say nothing, innuendo’s about unrelated groups offshore with vaguely the same eventual targets and different tactics, and NO evidence about the particular people or the charge that they are wanting to execute the warrant on. The charges that they make are ridiculous, and obviously just there to puff up the search warrant application. Intimidation by loitering – ie attending a peaceful and legitimate protest. Burglary – for the guy that did not participate in spreading hay at a protest at the Tegel head office (wasn’t his style), but who handed a letter explaining the rationale of the protest to the receptionist, and then left.

    Some of the waffle I’ve seen in the media about the warrants being looked at by a judge – yeah right. All the ones I’ve looked at get signed by court registrars – who I believe are just managers of the court.I doubt that a judge ever looks at most of them. With this the police can invade your home, grab material, and then hold it until the case comes to trial a year later as evidence. They don’t even have to present it to the court.

    You then have to fight your way through court, eventually kill the charge after a lot of time, money, and effort. Then there is nothing you can really do to try and help the police from making the same style of screwup next time. Police Compliants (as ineffective as they are) have no juristriction over what is a legitimate (but misguided) use of police powers. The political system has no real influence on the police apart from providing funding. The police themselves appear to have no way to talk to them about their policies.

    So our only real outlet is to make sure that EVERYONE you know is aware of your opinion about this type of police operation. Help the next activist ‘group’ attacked by the police by protesting and helping with their court cases. NZ is a small society – you can see that in the protests going on now. It is getting hard to find the ‘activists’ in the faces amongst the friends and family of current an previous police victims.

    It is a really bad problem – with no way of talking to police about their perception problem – all you can do is to attack the poice via protesting until they figure out they have a problem.

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