The police ignore Brooker

Written By: - Date published: 7:52 am, January 7th, 2010 - 79 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags:

Idiot Savant at No Right Turn points out that the police (once again1) are violating the law surrounding protest and dissent. The post is reproduced with permission.

Two years ago, we saw a significant victory for the right to protest in New Zealand, with the Supreme Court ruling in Brooker v. Police. The court reinterpreted the law against disorderly or offensive behaviour through the lens of the Bill of Rights (as it is required to do by law), and came down decisively on the side of freedom of speech, and raising the bar significantly on what an imaginary “reasonable person” must be expected to put up with in a public space. As justice Tipping pointed out,

the purpose of protest is to make someone listen to something they do not want to hear.

and that means you can’t just arrest people for saying something you don’t like, loudly and repetitively.

Unfortunately, the police don’t seem to have got the message. Today, at a tennis tournament in Auckland, a group protested against the presence of Israeli player Shahar Peer – and were silenced by the police:

A group of around 10 people holding anti Israel placards stood in the Auckland Domain, which backs onto the ASB Tennis centre, and with a loud hailer blasted out accusations that Peer, 22, had “blood on her hands” for Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The noise could be heard right across the tennis centre and clearly audible to the 3000 spectators in attendance.

After letting the protest go for 45 minutes police moved in, arresting the man who was holding the loud hailer.

No matter what you think of the protestor’s message, they unquestionably had a right to express it, and in the absence of violence, the police had no right to silence them. The protest may have been annoying, it may have forced people to listen to a message they did not want to hear – but that is the point, and it is lawful and everyone’s right in a democracy. By arresting them, the police have violated that right, and shown their contempt for the Supreme Court’s ruling, and for the law they exist to enforce. And if they get away with it, then we’re not a country of laws, we’re just a country of blue-uniformed thugs who decide for themselves what is and isn’t acceptable while hiding behind law and democracy.

From what I understand the protest was noisy, orderly, and well within the bounds of a normal protest. I have no idea about what was being protested about apart from what has been written about it in some news articles, and I really don’t care. What I am concerned about is that the police seem to think that they can stop a protest without sufficient reason, and almost certainly outside of the current legal framework. This means that another case goes through an already clogged court system before charges are dropped or the arrest is overturned.

Furthermore, there is no effective redress against the police for this action. The Independent Police Complaints Authority is completely ineffective in this type of case. While they will investigate, this usually consists of getting the police to look at it themselves for minor charges like disorderly behavior. This will typically take a year and in almost every case I’ve seen for protest action results in a whitewash. You’d be better off taking a civil action or a private prosecution against the arresting officer, which will take a long time and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Quite simply if parliament had wanted to stifle protest then they should have passed laws to do so. They haven’t and the courts have upheld the will of parliament. The police however do not appear to recognize either as an authority. The judgment in the Brooker case makes it clear what the parameters legally are.

So I’d suggest that even if you disagree with the protest – go along and start protesting. Against the other protesters if required. You’ll be participating in a protest against the police stopping protests without good legal reason.

The daily schedule for the tournament in Auckland is at this site. Look for Shahar Peer.

  1. The October 15 2007 ‘terrorism’ raids, now has been scheduled for late 2011 – nearly 4 years after the arrests. Because of the suppression orders on the preliminary hearings, I can’t tell you how illegally the police acted in the surveilance processes until either the suppression order is lifted or the trial takes place. I can tell you that from what I’ve been hearing that the police cases against almost all people charged appears to be quite ridiculous. That probably explains why this case has been dragging out for so long. To date most of the courts time has been looking at the admissibility of the evidence that the police collected illegally.

79 comments on “The police ignore Brooker”

  1. al zhiemer 1

    Another step down the road towards a police state.

  2. I don’t agree with your knee-jerk condemnation of the police.

    Point 1. They allowed the protest to proceed for 45 minutes. Protesters have rights, but so do the rest of us. There are no doubt many things you don’t want to hear, but are you arguing for the right to protesters to park themselves outside your house and blast the message at you through loudspeakers 24/7 – or even for ten minutes every hour night and day?

    Point 2. The purpose of protest is to get a message across to someone in a position to do something about it – ie politicians, CEO’s of businesses etc. The target of this protest was a sportswoman in no position at all to influence her country’s policies, and equally targeted another professional sportswoman with no connection to it whatsoever and a irritated a crowd who would probably in the main be sympathetic anyway.

    Point 3. Protest is a right, and with rights come obligations. Those obligations include targetting the message to where it matters rather than imposing it on ‘captive’ audiences, and respecting the rights of others to enjoy a sporting occasion.

    Point 4. By your logic I would be quite entitled to follow Japanese tourists around the country bellowing an anti-whaling message at them in camp-sites, motels, ski-resorts, jet-boats etc. without regard to the enjoyment of anyone else, or American tourists with an anti-Guantanamo message, French tourists with an anti-Pacific nuclear message and even New Zealanders with an anti-right-wing message.

    The protesters achieved their publicity and made their point in the first five minutes. Going beyond that was simply pointless vindictive mischief-making and I support the action of the police.

    • lprent 2.1

      Read the Brooker case. There are some quite clear guidelines in there about what would consitute disorderly behaviour at a protest. Unless there is something that I don’t know about, the charge will be dropped in the court because the protesters behaviour was clearly within those guidelines.

      • Zorr 2.1.1

        Not sure how to do the big quote thing

        But from the reference to Melser in that Brooker ruling the judge mentions that disorderly conduct must both “seriously offend against those values of orderly conduct which are recognised by right-thinking members of the public [and] must at least be of a character which is likely to cause annoyance to others who are present”.

        In this case, the guy with the loudhailer loses I think.

        • Idiot/Savant 2.1.1.1

          Melser is pre-BORA, and the flaws with its “right-thinking person” test are well known (as pointed out by Kenneth Keith, they support only popular protest – which is missing the point of freedom of speech, really). The Chief Justice’s opinion in Brooker takes a much more sensible line: public order legislation is about exactly that – public order. Protests must be extremely disruptive of ordinary usage in order to justify suppression. And

          A tendency to annoy others, even seriously, is insufficient to constitute the disruption to public order which may make restrictions upon freedom of expression necessary.

          Unfortunately our police cling to the authoritarian british tradition of seeing any protest as inherently disorderly and unlawful and therefore necessary to be suppressed. It is long past time that changed.

          • Swampy 2.1.1.1.1

            There’s a world of difference between, dare I say it, truly peaceful protest, and a rabble minority of extremists like this Brooker and a few names that were involved in this Auckland protest.

            • felix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Protest should be neither seen nor heard, eh Swampy?

              And what do you call this system of government you’ve devised? I can think of a couple of names but you won’t like them. Actually you probably won’t be able to read them.

    • are you arguing for the right to protesters to park themselves outside your house and blast the message at you through loudspeakers 24/7 or even for ten minutes every hour night and day?

      That’s what Brooker was about, and the answer seems to be that while there may be tighter limits in residential areas (though not so tight as to outlaw a protest with loud singing outside someone’s house during the day, even though they were trying to sleep), the state and other people must exercise a high degree of tolerance for protests in public space. Furthermore, public order law (which includes disorderly behaviour) is about exactly that – public order, that is, the prevention of riots. Unless a protest is or has a high risk of becoming a riot or otherwise preventing the ordinary use of public space, then we simply have to accept it.

      By your logic I would be quite entitled to follow Japanese tourists around the country bellowing an anti-whaling message at them in camp-sites, motels, ski-resorts, jet-boats etc.

      Absolutely you can. And we can all think you’re a dick.

    • BLiP 2.3

      Point One: There’s a time limit on the freedom of expression?

      Point Two: The people that make a difference are you and me,the plonkers at the tennis, the shopkeepers, the pedestrians, even the police. The suits need reminding of this from time to time.

      Point Three: I don’t agree entirely. But, okay, lets say , yes, protesters are required to obey the law which, in this instance, they did. However much the protest spoiled the experience of sitting in the sun eating icecream while watching sport, I’m sure most Palestinians would have loved to swap – even just for an afternoon.

      Point Four: Yes. That’s correct and could quite possibly have a positive effect.

      If legal protest amounts to vindictive mischief in your mind, then, surely, the actions of Israel in Gazza must amount to, what, genocide?

      • Swampy 2.3.1

        The only protest that matters is the ballot box, that is the nature of our democracy.

        Protestors are not elected to represent anyone except themselves and their ginger groups.

  3. gitmo 3

    Yes they have a right to protest – but wasn’t the cockhole with the loudhailer arrested for disturbing the peace.

    Also not sure why you attach Brooker vs Police as evidence for you point …

    ” ……What has been abandoned, in pursuit of an exalted perception of the right to freedom of expression,
    is the notion that s 4(1)(a) can be applied to promote public order in the sense of decorum and orderliness in public places to the benefit of all citizens. This objective can be achieved without proscribing trivial or inconsequential behaviour. No more is required than that, in a democratic and civil society, citizens exercise their rights responsibly with concern and consideration for their fellow citizens. “

    • felix 3.1

      Do you mean “breaching the peace”?

      If so, you’d have to be yelling some very, very inflammatory things through the loudhailer. A breach of the peace, in a legal sense, is not really about volume but more about the intent of your words or actions.

      That’s my layman’s understanding anyway. Perhaps a lawyer could clarify?

      • “Breach of the peace” is about rioting, not “peace and quiet”.

        • gitmo 3.1.1.1

          My bad he was arrested for disorderly conduct and I note that no-one including the police is stopping these diddle protesting.

          If I was a player and lost a match while these tools were causing a disturbance I’d consider suing the protestors for loss of earnings.

    • lprent 3.2

      Read the case link. It is about someone raising their voice in protest. It doesn’t matter if they use a loudhailer or a guitar.

      • gitmo 3.2.1

        I did – I suggest you do so in its entirety.

        Can’t see why you have a problem with this the tennis player, the tournament organisers and the police are not stopping the protest or arguing against their right to protest, just removing the loud hailered one after 45 minutes.

        Wouldn’t their time be better spent protesting outside the israeli embassy rather than harrasing tennis players and members of the public ?

        • felix 3.2.1.1

          Wouldn’t their time be better spent protesting outside the israeli embassy rather than harrasing tennis players and members of the public ?

          Not if you want anyone to notice.

      • It doesn’t matter if they use a loudhailer or a guitar.

        Though the police seemed to think drums were illegal as well.

        Its worth noting that Shahar Peer, the target of the protest, gets it: “They’re doing what they want. Everyone can do whatever they want, as long as I’m winning I don’t care.” If only the police had such an understanding of the freedom to protest.

        • lprent 3.2.2.1

          Thats ok. The police also seem to think that using your voice in a public place is illegal.

          A few years ago, rocky was arrested at a protest for using a loudhailer. They confiscated the loudhailer as ‘evidence’. So the next day she was arrested for using her voice at the same protest.

          I forget the details of what happened to the charges. I think that the loudhailer one might have gotten in front of a judge – who threw it out.

  4. Tim Ellis 4

    So by your standard LP, you would be quite happy with a dozen tennis supporters camping outside John Minto’s house at midnight, screaming through loud-hailers that tennis players should be allowed to play tennis?

    • zelda 4.1

      Does Minto live in a public venue attended by say 10,000 people during the daytime.
      Go ahead , Tim make your protest during the day, like this one.

      • Tim Ellis 4.1.1

        The ASB Tennis Centre is owned by Tennis Auckland, which is a private organisation zelda. The road outside is public. Just as John Minto’s house is on a public street.

        The numbers attending aren’t really relevant, though. If there were a TV camera at the protest then you would have a potential audience of hundreds of thousands.

        If it’s okay for John Minto and his rag-tag crew to disrupt a tennis tournament to make an obscure political point, then I don’t see why it would be wrong for a few people to use a loud-hailer outside John Minto’s house.

        John Minto has led protests outside the Prime Minister’s private home on several occasions, so he should be happy with the idea.

        • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1

          Is anyone saying that should be illegal Tim? Tactically stupid sure, but go ahead and do it if he bothers you.

    • lprent 4.2

      Read the Brooker case. That gives some pretty clear guidelines about what is permissible. Midnight almost certainly wouldn’t be. I suspect that a loudhailer wouldn’t be. I suspect that screaming wouldn’t be. It is a residential area.

      However all of those things are permissible in public areas apart from (I suspect) doing these at midnight.

      It is a pity that the police haven’t read these clear guidelines or decided not to act on such clear guidance from the courts.. .

    • Swampy 4.3

      Someone in here was very grumpy about John Minto’s house appearing on Whaleoil’s blog eh?

  5. Steve 5

    An anti-Minto protester could cause a lot of disruption here but all that would happen is they would be stopped by moderation and banning.
    Same thing, the Police silenced them just as The Standard would silence a person with a different viewpoint

    [lprent: We don’t ‘silence’ people for their opinions in a public place. We ‘silence’ them when they act like f*ckwits with bad behaviour in violation of the policy in a private place.

    If this was directly funded by taxpayers then you might be able to argue that this is a public place. Since it (like every other blog – including those like Red Alert and frogblog) is funded by private money, what you’re essentially saying is that you care not for private property.

    It is exactly the same rules that would apply if the protesters were doing their thing inside the ASB tennis stadium. However they aren’t, they are doing it in a public area held in common and paid for by all of us – including the protesters.

    Basically you need to get a grip on your stupidity and use your brain a little. ]

  6. burt 6

    I would like to express my opinions about this on Idiot/Savant’s blog – Oh, that’s funny – a guy who talks about people having the right to voice their opinions won’t allow comments. Weird.

    • Sorry, I don’t let people shit on my lawn.

      • Or, to put it another way: If you have something to say, then feel free to start your own blog. But I’m not under any obligation to provide a venue for your views, any more than you are under an obligation to provide a venue for mine.

        • gitmo 6.1.1.1

          But Auckland tennis is under an obligation to provide a venue for these protestors views ?

          Funny old world.

          • Tim Ellis 6.1.1.1.1

            Touche gitmo.

          • Idiot/Savant 6.1.1.1.2

            But Auckland tennis is under an obligation to provide a venue for these protestors views ?

            Nope, and they weren’t. The protest was on a public street.

            • gitmo 6.1.1.1.2.1

              So why not choose another public street away from Auckland tennis ?

              • That would be stupid, when someone playing at Auckland tennis is the target of the protest. Duh.

              • gitmo

                Why are they protesting against her ?

                Don’t they like girls who play tennis or is it just girls from Israel who play tennis… perhaps they should canvas a further other clubs around Auckland to find some more girls from Israel to target.

                Duh de duh duh duh !

            • Neil 6.1.1.1.2.2

              but the intended effect of the protest is not on the street – it’s within the stadium and on the match in progress.

              the use of loudhailers is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the tournament not merely to express a political message. otherwise why not just use placards for passers by to see.

              apart from the fact the such antics fuel conspiracy theories that Minto is a Mossad agent, the audience and players do have a right to enjoy and play tennis and should be able to count on the police to uphold that right.

              if Minto and co want to march down Queen St with all their loudhailers then no one would mind – if they noticed at all that small a number of people.

        • lprent 6.1.1.2

          I/S burt did – it was called Editing teh Standard (he isn’t particularly imaginative). Doesn’t seem to have been updated for a while last time I looked.

          Unlike Editing the Herald, where James obviously does have imagination and is creative.

      • modern 6.1.2

        “Sorry, I don’t let people shit on my lawn.”

        Love this reply!

  7. John 7

    Hey video of the arrest here, the protest had wrapped up by this stage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoI7c5NY0YM&feature=player_embedded

    Secondly Rees vs Police is the case law I rely on when police threaten to arrest me for using a megaphone. Unfortunately this happens regularly and on several occassions I have had to call a lawyer and get them to explain to the police that using a megaphone in a public place – even in an annoying manner is a legitimate activity.

    The police treat protesting as they would any other disorderly behaviour – a loud annoying group of people which need to be quietened for the good of others. What they fail to comprehend is that protesters have a special level of protection under the law and should be treated differently to say a group of drunken men shouting abuse.

    Anyway I’m off to todays protest – 11am outside the ASB stadium.

    • gitmo 7.1

      Oh dear what a sad little protest rabble, looks to me like the police acted in an exemplary fashion………. although I would have preferred to see Minto tasered until he shat himself.

    • lprent 7.2

      Yeah – rocky is very good at setting case law on protests.

      The Brooker started with him being charged with “intimidation by loitering” – subsequently modified to disorderly behaviour. There is another Rees vs Police case that the high court overturned a district court ruling on that same charge. The high court judge decided that protesting was not ‘loitering’.

      • I’ve just read that one – quite interesting, and another example of the way the BORA forces the reinterpretation of public order law.

        The problem though is that the police can arrest now, secure in the knowledge that they will face no consequences when the court eventually rules that it was unlawful. That too has to change. Once upon a time, police could be sued in civil court for kidnapping or assault for false arrest. When the police abuse their powers to violate individual rights, then that looks like a very good idea.

        • lprent 7.2.1.1

          A side issue that showed up in there was to do with video cameras. Most protests these days have a protester or friendly observer keeping a camera lens on whatever action is going on. This is helpful because many of the complainants, witnesses, and regrettably some police have a tendency to ’embellish’ what happened.

          In that case a large part of the intimidation part of intimidation by loitering charge rocky faced was about rocky purportedly holding the camera on the store owner for considerable lengths of time – according to the police statements. In fact the video record showed it to be about 30 seconds – almost entirely when a security guard went in to talk to the owner.

          So it gets a bit weird in that you can apparently intimidate using a camera, that is mostly there to make sure that the evidence at any subsequent hearing can be backed up.

          As you’re probably aware, some police seem to hate these with a passion and seem to arrest for merely having one at a protest. I guess they don’t like people looking at what they do. These are then held for trial, often up to a year later to validate as evidence. Meanwhile it leaves subsequent protests vulnerable to concocted evidence.

          • gitmo 7.2.1.1.1

            “As you’re probably aware, some police seem to hate these with a passion and seem to arrest for merely having one at a protest. I guess they don’t like people looking at what they do”

            I guess that’s why when they arrested the rabble at Stanley Street the police were saying take as many pictures as you like but don’t interfere with the arrests.

            • lprent 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Did you notice the word ‘some’ in there? The ‘some’ has higher concentrations in the ‘cowboy’ units of the police like TAU, TPU, and SIG.

              If I’d meant all, then I’d have said all. The protester yesterday was probably arrested by Auckland Central police rather than the TPU. The Auckland Central police are apparently usually pretty good on procedure. The TPU on the other hand, who often wind up on protests, seem to regard rules as an impediment to their power.

              Also they arrested one person yesterday – not all.

        • Rex Widerstrom 7.2.1.2

          The problem though is that the police can arrest now, secure in the knowledge that they will face no consequences when the court eventually rules that it was unlawful.

          And therein is a principle at least as important, if not more so, than those codified in Brooker yet there’s really nothing in law which can be used to hold police personally responsible for their actions. Quite the contrary – there’s all sorts of “public officers doing their duty shall not be held liable” clauses in all sorts of legislation.

          Now that’s fine when it protects a state employee from the consequences of a genuine error (we all make those) or even an action or decision taken on the basis of a genuinely held but erroneous belief. The alternative would be paralysis of the public sector.

          But there has to come a point – when officiousness, aggressiveness, prejudice, malice or similar factors – intrude on that decision making when the officer should find him or herself personally liable for the outcome.

          Without the BORA, the Chief Justice’s ruling in Brooker wouldn’t have been possible. So where’s the legislation which specifically covers abuse of power by public servants?

          I suspect we’ll never see it, because when they’re abusing their power they’re generally acting in precisely the way the government of the day wishes them to.

          There’s a quote about absolute power and corruption that’s apposite here…

        • Swampy 7.2.1.3

          Try asking the public what they think, I don’t think there is much support for Minto and co

    • Looks like the police didn’t get the memo on Rees v Police (2006) – they arrested another five people today, acting on complaints from Auckland tennis about the noise.

      These charges will not survive even the barest legal scrutiny. But despite that, the police will have succeeded in silencing the protest when it mattered, on the day, by unlawfully abusing their powers.

      • gitmo 7.3.1

        Meh pack of noisy bigots arrested by the police … tough, they were warned numerous times to quieten down, they didn’t, they were arrested for disturbing the peace. No abuse of powers there no matter how much you’d like everyone to think there is.

      • Swampy 7.3.2

        The police are a government agency. We elect the government so that they can get rid of silly protests for us.

        • felix 7.3.2.1

          I’m going to start a scrapbook of Swampy’s drunken night-raids. There’s a kind of naive ignorant poetry to them.

        • rocky 7.3.2.2

          Wow you really are an idiot. The government have no such control over the police, as for good reason we don’t want a police state! The police are bad enough without political interference!

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    Ooh look steve and burt don’t understand free speech.

  9. burt 9

    Pascal’s bookie

    It is with great pleasure that I respond to you here in this forum that allows me to express my opinion. Please explain to me why you defend a blog post about people voicing their opinions and the right to speak out posted under a tag of “free speech’ that won’t allow comments?

    I think Idiot/Savant is just to insecure to face the music for the prep-school level of spin he engages in from time to time. It is a pity because 99% of what he writes is very good, although a little Trotteresq from time to time.

    A lefty that won’t allow dissent when he speaks from the roof top nothing new here.

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      We’ve already had the pleasure of this discussion burt, but I’m happy to restate the issue in the hope you might learn what freedom of speech entails.

      Freedom of speech means that you are allowed to voice your opinion. Which you are. There is this thing called the internet on which you can post things. you can set up a blog. Anyone can. you could set up a blog specifically to air your issues with whatever I/S says on his blog, and link to his blog all the time, and there is nothing he can or should abe allowed to do about it.

      The key point is that I/S cannot arrest you or have you imprisoned for speaking. That means he cannot restrict your freedom of speech. His not allowing you to comment on his site no more limits your freedom of speech than the editor of the NBR’s refusal to give me a page in his rag to vent my spleen restricts mine.

      • Swampy 9.1.1

        Savant doesn’t allow comments on his blog, Auckland Tennis shouldn’t have t allow protestors to invade their airspace.

        They can lay a complaint with Noise Control, it is quite legal for them to do so. Noise is a perfectly good nuisance grounds to have the protestors stopped.

        • felix 9.1.1.1

          Not according to the case law which has been the subject of the entire post and thread.

          Perhaps you should try actually reading a thread before these nightly wallpapering sprees of yours.

  10. burt 10

    Pascal’s bookie

    Gee, I though I/S was obliged to accept my comments. Don’t be a complete dork PB, I fully understand that I/S is not obliged to allow comments I just think it is funny (weird) that somebody with so much to say on so many issues is too much of a pussy to allow his occasional complete BS posts to be disrupted by other peoples opinions.

    There is a reason why comments on blogs are published below the initial post. NRT is less of a blog than the hard copy Dom-Post. At least I can respond to things in the Dom-Post and if they pass moderation they are published in the Dom-Post rather than the NZ Herald. IE: The same people who might have read the article/opinion piece I responded to might also read my response.

    Do you not think it a little strange that I/S comments on other peoples blogs and also defends his reluctance to stand up to scrutiny by posting comments on other peoples blogs?

    [lprent: You thought wrong. The blog sites are all private property. The rules are made by their owners. Threadjack in this post again on this topic and I will demonstrate this attribute of blogs for you. ]

    • lprent 10.1

      Basically, burt, you seem to have comprehension issues. Is it a stupidity or a simple lack of practice at using your brain?

      These blog sites are all private property. You’re only allowed to comment on them at the discretion of the owner(s) of the site. The owners set the rules – you don’t.

      Incidentally if you persist in trying to hijack this threat – I’ll demonstrate the difference for you.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.2

      No burt I don’t think it’s strange at all. There are all sorts of blogs, many don’t allow comments, it’s not an essential part of the form. Eg powerline and instapundit are blogs that don’t allow comments.

      He’s not being a ‘pussy’. He used to allow comments and it was infested by trolls. Containing that takes a lot of time and effort that I assume I/S would rather spend on posts. Good for him. As stated you can respond by setting a NRTWatch blog. There is no restriction on responding to what he writes.

  11. Chris 11

    To be honest, I’d support Minto more if he and his friends were protesting *for* the right of women Muslim tennis players to play sans burqua/veil etc, to be allowed to be taught by male coaches, to be permitted to enter competitions. That would be a good contribution towards peace in the Middle East.

    • grumpy 11.1

      Yes Chris, and even to be allowed to demonstrate without being shot – as in Iran.

      Strange that Minto would rather try to intimidate a young female Israeli than protest the real issues of the Middle East.

    • modern 11.2

      I love this comment, we see it all the time from commenters here: “I’d support you more if you just did this. How can I respect your opinion on X when you fail to protest about Y?”

      Be honest. You wouldn’t. You’d merely find another excuse not to support us. You’re scared of change and disruption to the status quo, but you’re trying to rationalise that status quo to yourself and to others. “it happened, so it must be right (because I can’t bear to believe it might not be)”. You really want to believe that all is well; that someone else will make this world a lovely place so that you don’t need to get your own hands dirty by stepping out of line.

      “sure, apartheid is bad, but how can I support Nelson Mandela when he’s got such a bad haircut? if only he wore a suit and sugar-coated the truth, then I’d be on board”. Nah, you wouldn’t. Admit it. Bringing up Iran every time someone criticises Israel, or North Korea every time someone criticises China, or China everytime someone criticises the US, is just fooling yourself that you’re man enough to do the right thing if the chance came along. Right now the issue is the NZ police denying people the right (both legal, and moral) to protest, and you’re too scared to defend those people, so you’re blaming them for their predicament instead. (It’s the same logic as “the poor deserve their fate, after all; they’re poor, so they must have done something wrong”). It’s time you all diagnosed yourself, fought out your internal battles, and came back with something constructive to say. Bye-bye.

  12. Swampy 12

    I think the court of public opinion is more relevant here. You see, these are both pretty extreme cases and I’d be willing to bet 80% or more of the public would be opposed to the viewpoints presented here.

    Firstly, Brooker. Are we supposed to believe the Supreme Court would uphold the right of a protestor to threaten the life of a policeman and his family by disclosing his place of residence to all and sundry including the criminal community or perhaps the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling was much narrower and less meaningful than this post would make it appear. You see, you are advocating that one protestor has more rights in society than the whole police force who are the government agency empowered to enforce the law for the greater good of society, and I don’t think any sane government or court would warrant such an outcome at all.

    Secondly, Minto and co. Most people would have already formed their opinion just from hearing his name. You expect us to believe Minto and his fellow protestors’ rights are more than anyone else in this situation, which is all rubbish. The police in this case have acted to uphold the rights of a whole lot more people who don’t want their day disrupted by silly protestors. I think the police have acted quite reasonably and justifiably. Cause it’s clear that protestors don’t have the rights that are being claimed.

  13. Swampy 13

    http://www.policeact.govt.nz/pdf/advice-to-attorney-general-200712.pdf

    “70. In relation to public disorder, the right to express ones self, individually or as a group, is not absolute. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that rights may be subject to certain restrictions, as set out in law, and are necessary for the protection of public order.”

    I think that blows it out of the water a bit

    • felix 13.1

      Only if you have no idea what is meant by the term “public order”.

      Which you clearly don’t.

  14. Swampy 14

    Also this was a 3:2 majority decision of the court,
    :The minority of McGrath and Thomas JJ would, in contrast, have elevated a right to privacy in one’s home above any free speech rights being exercised by Mr Brooker. :

    • felix 14.1

      And if a giant fish had swum through the courtroom and swallowed up all the paperwork?

      Then what?

      You really are the Karl Pilkington of the blogosphere Swampy.

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