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The politics of the New Lynn attack

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, September 4th, 2021 - 111 comments
Categories: blogs, Christchurch Attack, crime, Judith Collins, police, Politics, terrorism, uncategorized - Tags:

Following on from Jacinda Ardern’s shock announcement that the attack on six civilians was a terrorist action inspired by ISIS ideology the Herald has confirmed that the person involved had been the subject of intense institutional activity to curtail the threat that he clearly posed.

There was this article just last month in the Herald where Sam Hurley and Jared Savage provided some background of the individual including an analysis of the court proceedings.  The article is in Premium so I won’t quote from it but this morning in a subsequent article Savage provided this background:

A High Court judge ruled that preparing a terrorist attack was not in itself an offence under the legislation, which he said could be described as an “Achilles heel” hindering the authorities’ abilities to stop such would-be attackers.

But Justice Matthew Downs dismissed the Crown’s application to charge S under the anti-terror law, saying it was for Parliament, not the courts, to create an offence of planning an attack.

Since then, the Labour government has proposed new anti-terror powers. The judgment was cited by government officials as one of the key events leading to the introduction of new anti-terror powers in April. The judge’s concerns were echoed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch attacks when it presented its findings in November.

Labour’s new Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, which passed its first reading in May, would make it a criminal offence to plan or prepare for a terrorist attack.

The man was subsequently sentenced to supervision on charges of possessing objectionable material and failing to assist a police officer exercising a search power.  The sentence appears on the face of it to be lenient, even for the offences involved, but it must be remembered that S had spent three years in custody pending trial.

He was sentenced on July 6, 2021.  The sentencing decision makes it clear that supervision was imposed only because he had spent so much time in custody.  And the Judge clearly was placed in a dilemma, keep him in custody until he is released untreated, or attempt to rehabilitate him by imposing supervision.

The Counter Terrorism Legislation Bill was introduced during April, 2021.  It includes provisions criminalising planning or preparation for a terrorism action.  The Department Disclosure Statement says:

The amendments … provide agencies with a range of tools that reflect the evolving nature of terrorism and violent extremism. In doing so they are part of the Government’s initial response to the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019. The Bill implements part of Recommendation 18 of that report. Recommendation 18 recommended, among other things, prioritising the creation of precursor terrorism offences in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

For completion recommendation 18 urged the Government to “[r]eview all legislation related to the counter-terrorism effort (including the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and the Intelligence and Security Act 2017) to ensure it is current and enables Public sector agencies to operate effectively, prioritising consideration of the creation of precursor terrorism offences in the Terrorism Suppression Act, the urgent review of the effect of section 19 of the Intelligence and Security Act on target discovery and acceding to and implementing the Budapest Convention.”

The bill is currently at the select committee stage and is due to be reported back to Parliament in November.

The individual’s details are not available but I presume that he has been granted citizenship.  There will be an attempt for us to adopt Australia’s laws which allow for the stripping of citizenship of people who the Minister considers to have either fought for terrorist organisations or engaged in disallegient conduct.  Criminal convictions are not required.

This was foreshadowed earlier in the case of Suhayra Aden.  I described her background in this way:

There is a poor lost soul who is both a New Zealand and Australian citizen who in 2014 chose to travel to the Middle East to be part of a community supportive of Islamic State.  Her name is Suhayra Aden.  She has spent most of her life in Australia but was born in New Zealand and has dual citizenship.  She has two children who were born in the Middle East but who are also New Zealand citizens.

Using its reprehensible citizenship stripping law Australia has taken away her Australian citizenship leaving her to be New Zealand’s problem.  They did this even though she left Australia for Syria in 2014 before the law was in force.  The decision has caused some fraying of the Trans Tasman relationship.  And the New Zealand Government has agreed to accept her and her children back into the country, essentially because it had no choice.

At the time Judith Collins expressed cautious support for New Zealand to amend its laws to reflect the Australian approach.  I suspect they will now go hard on this issue.  There are powers in the Citizenship Act  to remove citizenship but the powers are limited.

Collins has offered to cooperate to have the Counter Terrorism Legislation Bill returned immediately to Parliament so that it can be passed.  The provisions are complex and despite this current tragedy it is important that Parliament gets the bill right.

An application to have suppression relating to S’s case lifted by the High Court has been filed.  The order has been granted but publication has been suspended to allow for any appeals.  I suspect the timeline will make a few former Ministers squirm.

Meanwhile over at the Sewer they are having a usual one.  One commentator, who has previous convictions for stealing the identity of a dead baby, has said that “the Islamist creed is, at its very core, totally incompatible with our way of life”.  Shame on him.  And shame on Farrar for allowing this comment to be made.

And over at the Daily Blog Martyn has claimed bizarrely that the Green Party blamed all white people for the Christchurch Terrorist attack.  He then says identity politics divides and without a hint of irony says hate and vengeance begets more hate and vengeance.  Clearly we should all adopt love and inclusion as guiding principles, unless that is you are a member of the Green Party.

Hang on to your hats.  This could get ugly.

111 comments on “The politics of the New Lynn attack ”

  1. weka 1

    And the Judge clearly was placed in a dilemma, keep him in custody until he is released untreated, or attempt to rehabilitate him by imposing supervision.

    Perhaps we should be looking at third and more alternatives.

    Keeping him in prison for three years while his case came to court (did I get that right?) seems cruel. There's not excusing him for his acts of extreme violence, and we still need to look at how and why he came to a place to act this way and whether society is part of the cause.

    Beyond that, do we know what the supervision entailed?

  2. weka 2

    Geddes said on RNZ that the proposed law would criminalise thinking about committing terrorism, not just preparing for it.

    "… you are guilty for thinking about doing something. Not actually going out and starting to do it, but even just thinking about doing it would be an offensive for which you could go to jail for up to seven years…"

    starts 5mins 55.

    That's a remarkable expansion of powers for the state. I'd like to see what limits are place on that in the Bill.

    He also points out that the select committee process of slowness is important so that people have time to think about issues and what they mean. People will want to react fast, but this is a mistake imo. We should be creating legislation when we are least stressed not most stressed (unless there is a compelling reason).

    • weka 2.1

      I'm mindful of the changes that happened at WINZ after the Ashburton shooting. Changes to security were necessary, but the way the changes were done added to the punitive nature of WINZ against beneficiaries. We should be approaching such things with care so that we're not on a steady path towards an authoritarian society.

    • RobbieWgtn 2.2

      The proposed law change is a convenient red herring.

      Auckland mall terror attack: Judith Collins defends not fixing law years ago; calls for new law for stripping citizenship, residency – NZ Herald

      “Legal expert Andrew Geddis told RNZ that the man, a Sri Lankan national, could have been sentenced to jail anyway because he was convicted of possessing material that promoted terrorism.

      This offence – of possessing objectionable material – can be published by up to 10 years' jail.

      But the judge decided to give him a supervision sentence, meaning he was allowed to be in the community with conditions, including undergoing a psychological assessment.”

      Following which typically benevolent / optimistic / misguided sentencing (to keep NZ’s prison population below Govt reduction targets ?) NZ has apparently had scarce Police resources monitoring him 24/7 until he’s attacked innocent bystanders, currently in critical condition.

      • weka 2.2.1

        and next time if the person doesn't have objectionable materials? It's not a red herring in the sense that the Bill is already in select committee and would expand the state's powers considerably. We should be taking notice right now, despite the fact that it wasn't necessary to lock this man up.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 2.2.2

        Geddes is wrong

        The judge gave a sentence of supervision because he had been held in jail without bail for roughly 12 months.

        That was the factor behind the 'supervision only'. Normally time in jail on bail is counted when the numbers are being done by the judge.

        • RobbieWgtn 2.2.2.1

          so, why didn't he serve the other 9 years ?

        • mickysavage 2.2.2.2

          Three years actually. This is also the maximum sentence reserved for the worst of offenders. At the time his list of previous convictions was short and the nature of the offending in context (possession of objectionable material) was not the worst of its sort.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz 2.2.2.2.1

            The link say it was 6 July 21 the sentence was handed down and as noted by the Judge he wasnt released despite the supervision sentence as he was back in custody awaiting trial in District court ( attacks on prison officers?).

            He seems to have later got bail for this.

            Very high level of legal assistance for this one person, far exceeds what the run of the mill cases would get.

      • Pete 2.2.3

        "NZ has apparently had scarce Police resources monitoring him 24/7 until he’s attacked innocent bystanders, currently in critical condition."

        I don't understand that. Did they have scarce resources monitoring him when he attacked? Should there have been more than 2 officers on hand?

        • lprent 2.2.3.1

          Perhaps you should first explain why you think that having more officers within seconds of him would have helped?

          Personally I find it hard to see how having more than 2 plain clothes officers carrying side arms just around the corner to him could have been beaten. That is very close surveillance with a armed response.

          Bearing in mind that the whole team would have been close to 10 officers on a round-the-clock basis, I am puzzled that you think it wasn't enough.

          Strident dickheadness on your part appears to be the only reasonable explanation.

        • Ad 2.2.3.2

          The Police Commissioner said this offender had up to 30 Police officers focused on this job.

          It would be pretty hard to sue them. And it sure ain't like they caused the offence to take place.

          But I still want to see a Ministerial Inquiry. The PM outlined a whole heap of interventions, over a very long period of time. They all need setting out in detail.

  3. Ghostwhowalksnz 3

    "A High Court judge ruled that preparing a terrorist attack was not in itself an offence under the legislation'

    Which is incorrect , it plainly says 'planning , preparation' in the text of the act

    1)For the purposes of this Act, a terrorist act is carried out if any 1 or more of the following occurs:

    (a)planning or other preparations to carry out the act, whether it is actually carried out or not:

    (b)a credible threat to carry out the act, whether it is actually carried out or not:

    Its a very odd decision, from a reportedly ‘odd judge’- they do have them.

    • weka 3.1

      Please link to the Act quote.

    • Ngungukai 3.2

      Very odd decision when you look at the Police Raids on Tuhoe in the Ureweras.

    • aom 3.3

      For the purposes of this Act, a terrorist act is carried out if any 1 or more of the following occurs:

      (a) planning or other preparations to carry out the act, whether it is actually carried out or not:

      (b) a credible threat to carry out the act, whether it is actually carried out or not:

      The problem here is that the Act requires that there has to be evidence available – in this case, there doesn't appear to have been at least until until the stabbings took place. Even then, was there evidence of planning, or was it a spontaneous act triggered by the availability of a weapon? With regard to (b) was there any threat made before the attack took place?

      The Judge was obviously clear that neither applied.

  4. Ad 4

    Is this the unluckiest government we've ever had?

    • weka 4.1

      more like we're the luckiest country having this government at this time.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.2

      The cluster of events, …..

      climate change storms, natural events such as earthquakes, pandemics and politicized radicals, ….

      are not caused by this Government. We should not conflate the two.

      Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet and the public have mainly risen to assist on each occasion.

  5. Reality 5

    I often think of all the major events and crises that Jacinda has had to deal with in her tenure, compared with many other PMs. Firstly, becoming a first time Mum (a major life change for women, quite apart from being a PM), with just six weeks leave after Neve's arrival.

    The Christchurch terrorist, followed by the White Island eruption. Covid last year. This week.it has been the Auckland floods at the start of the week, rising Delta numbers mid-week, the MIQ absconder, and the New Lynn terrorist. And myriad other issues that must be dealt with constantly.

    I marvel how she stays focussed and professional always.

  6. Reality 6

    I often think of all the major events and crises that Jacinda has had to deal with in her tenure, compared with many other PMs. Firstly, becoming a first time Mum (a major life change for women, quite apart from being a PM), with just six weeks leave after Neve's arrival.

    The Christchurch terrorist, followed by the White Island eruption. 2020 Covid appeared which has required a huge focus since. This week.it has been the Auckland floods at the start of the week, rising Delta numbers mid-week, the MIQ absconder, and the New Lynn terrorist. And myriad other issues that must be dealt with constantly.

    I marvel how she stays focussed and professional always.

  7. AB 7

    I'll be keeping an eye on Christ Trotter's take. He has consistently said that lone wolf attacks such as in Christchurch can't be prevented without massive over-reach by the state into the policing of hate speech and therefore the undermining of free speech. His increasingly odd bevvy of commenters at Bowalley Road usually concur fulsomely. Now that the the lone wolf is an Islamist rather than an Islamophobe, it will be interesting to see if their commitment to these freedoms remains robust.

  8. barry 8

    Anyone who says there is/was a simple answer to this is either stupid or lying.

    We don't lock up people forever, and we don't lock people up for thought crimes. Where they do we call them human rights abuses.

    The judge wanted him to get some sort of help. He could have locked him up for longer, but eventually he would have had to be released. Supervision and a psychological assessment could have given him a chance. Unfortunately he chose the path he did.

    I agree with Geddes that we have to be very careful not to give the police too many powers. A lot if this thinking is payback because they couldn't change Tama Iti with terrorism.

    • Ad 8.1

      Agree we have quite enough human rights curtailed as it is right now.

      But it's the basic duty of the state to keep us safe – particularly from terrorists – and if that requires a new human rights discussion then let's have it in the open.

  9. weka 9

    short thread on why he couldn't be detained under the Mental Health Act,

    • Ross 9.1

      But if the argument is that everything was tried, we should be able to see the advice that the Government received around that. If no advice was received about detaining him under the Mental Health Act, then clearly everything wasn't tried to detain him.

      I note that his brother has said he [snip – MS] was "suffering from some mental health problems. … We saw his mental health got worse and worse during the last 10 years or so."

      https://www.odt.co.nz/star-news/star-national/terrorists-family-we-are-so-shaken

    • Sacha 9.2

      Interim statement:

      • Ross 9.2.1

        I am not talking about plugging holes in the criminal law. I quoted the offender's brother who suggested his mental health had deteriorated.

        If the Government received advice around this issue, I'd expect them to release it.

      • weka 9.2.2

        That’s a very good statement

  10. RosieLee 10

    What is clear is that not one more cent should be spent on him or on all these BS "processes". Deport him now. No ifs, no but but buts, no maybes. We do not have to have these people in our country. The way he has behaved since arriving in 2011 on a dodgy student visa cancels out any so-called "rights".

    • RosieLee 10.1

      Sorry, meant to say "them". He's obviously dead but there are plenty of others who need to be deported for corruption and exploitation.

  11. Sacha 11

    This concise and thoughtful story by NZ journo Tess McClure is worth a read despite the lurid headline: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/04/auckland-stabbings-calls-for-tighter-terror-laws-after-extremist-allowed-to-roam-free

    Dr Chris Wilson, programme director for Conflict and Terrorism studies at University of Auckland, said the crown attempted to prosecute the man under the Terrorism Suppression Act after he had attempted to travel overseas to join a terrorist organisation. “He had purchased a knife and had shown a lot of interest in Isis propaganga that spoke about conducting knife attacks in the West,” Wilson said.

    “Unfortunately, the courts ruled he wasn’t able to be tried under that act because the preparation of a terrorist act is not part of that act,” he said. “That is a change the government is now seeking to make.”

    "We really need to think through what the consequences of changing the law would be,” [Law professor Andrew Geddis] said. “The proposed offence – planning for terrorism – criminal law doesn’t usually apply until you go out and start to do something. This is going to criminalise thinking about doing something – and that’s quite an extension into where we usually put criminal liability.”

    “If we legislate for this one case, what else are we going to catch?”

    "

    • KJT 11.1

      "Thoughtcrime"?

      • Andre 11.1.1

        Bring on the pre-cogs.

      • Anne 11.1.2

        In January 1991 just before the start of Operation Desert Storm (the first Iraq war) I said to someone on the phone:

        "if you come across any Arab terrorists, I know a Yank who could do with being bumped off."

        The person who I was referring to had spent the previous 12 months terrorising me in the workplace. [That is another story.] The comment was said in jest and the recipient knew it. Nevertheless that person reported me and I was placed under 24/7 surveillance for about three months. Having forgotten my fly-away comment, I had no idea why it was happening until I finally recalled the conversation after the surveillance stopped. I might add I was working on a Defence Force base at the time.

        I assume that under this legislative proposal I would have been arrested for using injudicious language to another person – or some such gobbledygook.

        Thoughtcrime indeed.surprise

        • Sacha 11.1.2.1

          I can see how SIS would have flagged you as a person of interest given that wording and where you worked at the time. Like any of us joking about bombs in airports these days.

          • Anne 11.1.2.1.1

            I was a civilian on the base and the person who reported me was not linked to the Defence Force. She knew my comment was in jest but it had served her purpose to make trouble. The authorities knew about her and instead of taking action against me they should have taken it against her for vexatious behaviour which went beyond just that incident.

            Btw, the story was meant to be humorous and to show up the occasional stupidity of the authorities.

            • Sacha 11.1.2.1.1.1

              I realise. Just saying their response was predictably useful to her.

              • Anne

                Yes. The response was indeed useful. She was the one who had much to hide, so getting me into trouble was advantageous in keeping the search light off herself.

            • Michael 11.1.2.1.1.2

              Instead, you account reveals you to be the stupid one. Just as well you weren't in uniform. I hope the NZDF promptly terminated your employment?

              • Anne

                So, why am I not surprised that this individual who calls himself Michael has jumped to erroneous (means wrong) conclusions based on a paucity of facts Seem to remember it happening before.

                I think the word 'ignorant' might be a good fit for you dear boy.

            • McFlock 11.1.2.1.1.3

              Well, no – security is one of those things where even if a dickhead flips the switch, everyone has to go through the process just in the remote case the dickhead turns out to be right.

              There was one jerk at a place I know who called in "suspicious package" about a half-empty soft drink bottle. Everyone still went through the process, just because it's a bad habit to start ignoring those calls.

              And a member of the public called in "suspicious powder" over someone's bulk-bin flour that had accidentally been dropped in the street. Fire service still did the full decontamination thing, just to be sure.

        • KJT 11.1.2.2

          I look with a jaundiced eye on anything that gives more power to the cops and/or spooks. They both have a record of exceeding them.

          For some of the enthusiusts at the moment for abrogating human rights, "to keep us safe" from the in NZ, very rare terrorists, should "be careful what they wish for".

          Andrew Geddis of course has covered this ably.

          I fail to see any justification for making terrorism a separate category of crime. Assualt and murder does the same harm, whatever the label put on the perpetuator.

          It tends to give the perpetrators status they don't deserve.

          For example, doesn't a woman threatened with bodily harm by an ex, deserve the same protection as people threatened by a "Terrorist"?

          • Anne 11.1.2.2.1

            We will have to wait to see the content of this proposed legislation but I agree it is fraught with difficulty and my past experiences is more than testament to that.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 11.2

      Planning and preparations is part of the act. It uses those very words.

  12. RedLogix 12

    My regards and sincere appreciation to the police officers who acted quickly and skillfully in highly stressful circumstances to end the threat posed by this person.

    These are the tough unpleasant jobs that some people do to enable the rest of us to live our lives in relative safety. I trust you're being looked after.

    • Sacha 12.1

      I was immediately relieved that highly-trained specialist police bore the brunt of that terrible situation, not regular community cops.

  13. Sacha 13

    Journalist Jehan Casinader on the terrorist and being Sri Lankan in Aotearoa right now: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/126285817/hes-not-one-of-us-jehan-casinader-responds-to-terror-attack

    Some details about the New Lynn attacker are yet to be made public. On Saturday, the Prime Minister said the attacker recently refused a judge-ordered psychological assessment.

    But what efforts were made to engage him in a meaningful, constructive way in the previous five years? There’s no point spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on detention and surveillance if state agencies are unable to provide culturally-responsive treatment for an individual at high risk of offending.

    Radicalisation happens to people from all cultures and backgrounds. The Christchurch terror attack reminded us of that. Friday’s incident should spur us to deeply examine the causes of radicalisation, and invest more money in efforts to deradicalise those who have already been identified by authorities, regardless of their ethnicity or faith.

    The LynnMall attack tells us nothing about Sri Lanka or its people. Having spent years reclaiming my cultural identity, I refuse to surrender it simply because one man picked up a knife – even though I’m disgusted by the hurt he has caused his victims.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 13.1

      Theres nothing worse than people injecting themselves into a tragedy like this. Jehan Casinader needs to turn off the voice of a journalist looking for an angle to write about … And yes that what they are taught what to do . Mine your friends and familys experiences.

      I havent seen any imputation that it reflects on Sri Lanka or its people. As of course it doesnt

      • Incognito 13.1.1

        Jehan Casinader’s angle is not the same as yours; his PoV is not the same as yours. Both are valid and need to be heard, like it or not. When people have different views and opinions, they could listen to each other and/or agree to disagree and show at least some respect unless they prefer bigotry. Who would want that?

        • Ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1.1

          Its the worst sort of 'what about me' I could imagine in the circumstances.

          Hes a journalist who could have written a compelling story from many angles but it was totally inward looking. Hes not a victim here.

          Remember the screenplay about Christchurch mosque attack , that was rightly criticised for its not being centered on the victims and their experiences. Sometimes not every PoV is the right time and place. The rest of your comment about bigotry is 'confused'

          • Incognito 13.1.1.1.1

            You lack imagination, in that case.

            Clearly, it is you who is confused about an opinion piece from somebody who has unique PoV, both personally and professionally.

            He wrote a heart-felt opinion piece that asked many good questions and not just from a Sri Lankan perspective, but questions that every Kiwi is and has been asking, and not just since last Friday.

            Only a bigot could label this “totally inward looking”.

            We’re all victims of this, to various degrees; you don’t get to take away or marginalise somebody else’s genuine feelings about this tragedy. Everybody deals with it in a different personal way, but you don’t respect and tolerate that, which is sad in its own way.

            He did not write a play or a movie script for Hollywood, so please spare me your strawmen.

  14. Alan Ivory 14

    The High Court has published online today a summary of the terrorist’s court history which includes links to all the court decisions:-

    https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/assets/cases/2021/R-v-S-summary.pdf

  15. Sacha 15

    Islamic community leader sounds caution.

  16. georgecom 16

    I understand the POS couldn't be deported as asylum seekers/political refugees needed to commit a serious crime to be deported and planning a terrorism act wasn't deemed serious. If that is the case then a change of the law to deem planning a terrorism act AS a serious crime seems a logical conclusion, at least for the specifics relating to deportation. Whether this comes into conflict with other law I am not sure, the terrorism laws may need to deem planning an act as serious as well.

    From a personal point of view, anyone who is a refugee or asylum seeker is welcome in this country, if they pose no threat to the well being on NZ. If they pose a risk then my country does not need them and they have no place here. Send them home and if they get tortured or worse then it's of minor consequence for me. Their place can be taken by people who seek peace and a better way of life. Many dozens of people in Afghanistan I would welcome over that POS at the drop of a hat.

    • Michael 16.1

      Your understanding of the relevant provisions in the Immigration Act is quite wrong; so is calling the deceased a "POS". While I condemn his actions and approve those of the police, they weren't all there is to this matter.

      • georgecom 16.1.1

        I might have the wrong understanding Michael regards the law. My description of the person was extremely mild. I could use far stronger terms to describe my opinion of him. To me he amounts to little more than as I described him. Same for the one from the ChCh shooting.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 16.2

      His case was reviewed by the Immigration Tribunal and their order was for him to be deported but it was appealed. Parts of his refugee application were found to be fraudulent.

  17. Michael 17

    Why can't "preparing an attack" be classified as an "attempt"? This is a well-known species of criminal liability, even if convictions seem to be rare. Resort to new forms of criminal offence, when existing forms may suffice, seems like legislating for its own sake. More serious in cases like this are shortcomings with mental health law. Currrently, administrators use it as a demand regulation tool, exercising control over the subjective "serious danger" getekeeping provisions. As a result people with mental illness, who pose a serious danger to themselves or others, are permitted to act, all too often with tragic results, while the system hides behind legalities. That needs to stop.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 17.1

      Planning for or preparation for an attack is in the wording of law to be counted as if it was a successful attack.

      It seems that was an error in the reporting on the law. The judge was just saying the evidence given 'wasnt specific enough'… but seemed to be within his remit to say so. A very experienced lawyer who has spent in entire career in criminal law – on the prosecution side- before becoming a judge ( even handling criminal appeals for crown law before the court of appeal)

  18. Stuart Munro 18

    It seems to have been a difficult matter, and a tidy legal solution is not necessarily to be expected.

    Machiavelli observes that there is no real defense against a determined assassin, because anyone who is not afraid to die can kill.

    In this case however, it seems that grounds for police to recommend deportation were reasonably solid, and it was an option that probably should have been on the table. Terrorism is an exceptional issue, and may (or must) be treated differently to conventional criminality.

    • barry 18.1

      There is a problem with deportation. We have been criticising Australia for deporting their problems to us, and you propose that we should have done this to Sri Lanka.

      We can't have it both ways. He may have been damaged before he came here, but he was radicalised while he was here.

      He was our problem, and we didn't deal with it properly.

      If we had deported him then either:

      1. He likely would have carried out an attack in Sri Lanka

      or

      2. His government would have noted the reasons he left Sri Lanka, and the reasons we sent him back, and his treatment may not have met our standards.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 18.1.1

        Those are people who have spent a majority of their life in Australian . This person wasnt the case. His family was still in Sri lanka and he was on his own here.

        Its now known that parts of his refugee application were fraudulent.

        Good look at the legal side in NZ Herald

        1) 'Immigration chose not to put [deleted] in custody pending appeal of his deportation because Crown Law thought he would eventually be declared a protected person and be allowed to stay.'

        2)'whether the original granting of refugee status was robust enough given parts of it were later found to be fraudulent,'

        3) And this I have been saying for a day or so…

        'The existing law already says that planning and preparations to carry out a terrorist act amounts to an act of terrorism, whether or not it is carried out.

        But when police tried to use it last year citing a knife purchased by [deleted] for a knife attack, a High Court judge said it required too much conjecture as to what sort of knife attack might be planned. He said it was not unequivocally clear what Parliament intended'.

        As I said a strange decision by a strange judge.

        And it seems the hearing appeal of the deportation was delayed as there seemed to be a sequence of police charges laid as they tried to keep him in jail.

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/audrey-young-questions-need-to-be-asked-despite-arderns-assurances-on-lynnmall-terrorist/6WNUHMQWO6EQUVWD2AGMQMUKWM/

      • Stuart Munro 18.1.2

        We have been much too precious about deportations – there are some real ratbags with no loyalty or cultural connection to NZ here now, who belong back home.

        This wanker for one.

        The Chch shooter for another

        And Thiel.

        The price of being the world's dumping ground is going to be someone's civil liberties – better that it be those that represent a threat to inoffensive citizens than the citizens themselves.

  19. Ghostwhowalksnz 19

    Not a settled person in NZ . he was only here for a short time and he was on his own here. Family was still in Sri Lanka.

    of course we deport people who have committed serious crimes and are not established here or arrived as young children. In this case the deportation order came because the refugee application was fraudulent

  20. Stuart Munro 20

    Convenient though it may have proven, fatally shooting a knife wielding assailant is not supposed to be the way things work. Justice is supposed to lie with the court, not be dispensed by the fellow on the spot like some Judge Dredd.

    It was for instances like these that the (often misused) tasers were ostensibly approved.

    • Gezza 20.1

      The courts weren’t there at the time. And the courts hadn’t been able to ensure that he wasn’t either. Not a simple situation of the armed police simply dispensing summary justice. From a witness who got involved:

      “There was a lady laid on the ground with a severe stomach wound and shoulder laceration. Next to her was an elderly lady, cowering behind a shopping trolley and others running for the exit. The man with a knife was pacing around the area, in and out of the aisles at the rear of the store.”

      “I passed the victim laying on the floor and [the] terrorist. I was yelling at him to drop the knife, he paid no attention other than to pace towards me, then pace back in the opposite direction. He seemed manic, slashing at the air and fast pacing towards anyone close.”

      “I ran to the bottom of the store and grabbed a metal bollard to use against him. He was yelling ‘Allah akbar’. I move towards him shouting to drop the knife, he ignored this. Another man tried to tackle him but was thrown to the ground and narrowly missed being stabbed, he (the terrorist) was slashing at the air and loudly saying ‘Allah Akbar’.”

      “To get his attention, I said ‘**** your God’. This got his attention and he started moving toward me. I’m not proud of that statement and is not something I believe, but knew it would anger him and draw his attention towards me.

      “At this point another chap came up behind me also yelling to drop the ‘******* knife’ and told me to hit him with the metal pole, I couldn’t safely get close enough, he was slashing at the air, the guy took the pole and moved to the back of the store.

      “The terrorist was moving towards me. I kept yelling to drop the knife. As he was moving towards me, plain clothed armed police entered from behind me. As they passed me and stood in front of me, they stated ‘armed police’, yelled at the chap with the pole to move from the line of fire, yelling ‘move back – armed police’ and told him [the terrorist] to drop the knife.

      “He ran at them with the knife raised. He was going to kill them. They shot around nine to 12 shots. He was 2-feet away from the police when they fired and around six to 10 feet away from me just before they entered the scene. He would have stabbed me or killed me, if the police arrived any later. The police saved me from serious injury or being killed.”

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/auckland-mall-terrorist-attack-ex-paramedic-distracted-terrorist-with-metal-bollard-so-shoppers-could-flee/UJKI6IYGIKJFAS25MCVJVWADSQ/

      Maybe if you were there you’d have tried shooting him in the leg or something. Don’t think I would. Not enuf time. Might miss, might not stop him. We weren’t there.

    • Tiger Mountain 20.2

      Tasers were promoted in NZ as an alternative to “lethal force”, but the public record anyway, indicates they are regularly used by Police more as a compliance device.

      Troublesome, and weapon presenting people continue to be shot, generally dying as Police are trained to target the torso rather than extremities.

      The knife wielder in this case had already used it to gruesome effect multiple times, rather than being an upset person standing alone as were various others that NZ Police have fatally shot previously over many years.

      Few people have so far argued with the Special detail’s response, which does not necessarily mean they like it or approve of it–but it certainly looks totally warranted in this case.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 20.3

      Not when there already 6 people who have been wounded lying around a supermarket aisle. Of course those police already knew of the persons history and they were following him as he was the most dangerous person on their 'list'. The location also mattered with large number of people still around

    • dv 20.4

      I have sorta wondered if a couple of people ramming with supermarket trolleys ramming him hard might have worked?

      • Gezza 20.4.1

        Yelling allahu akbar as he tries to target & stab white people (according to a female Kiwi-indian witness on tv3)? And lunging & slashing at anyone who came close or tried to stop him? Even armed police? This disturbed fanatic was pretty clearly on a potential suicide attack mission.

        You'd be up for quickly trying to organise someone else to co-ordinate a joint trolley ram with you, & see if that stopped him, would you?

        People did try & stop him. He could've killed or injured them. Sounds like a shooting to kill solution was the only safe one possible in this scenario.

      • McFlock 20.4.2

        Being a bit more restrained than gezza, there might have been some options we can figure out after the fact. But the penalty for failure was pretty high and so was the penalty for delay, so I'm not going to judge anyone there on the day.

        There will be lessons to be learned, as a matter of course. Not sure many of those will be at the individual "I could have done better" level, though.

      • Stuart Munro 20.4.3

        I expect the guys who used to instruct in long baton use could've shut him down pdq – but the guys on the spot had firearms for some reason.

  21. Gosman 21

    Typical victim blaming from Donna Miles in today's Dominion Post.

    https://fairfaxmedia.pressreader.com/the-dominion-post/20210906/281852941679689

    I especially find this bit appalling:

    "Terrorism prevention requires a holistic approach. From examining our foreign policy to societal inequalities, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions like:

    Did we really need to go to Afghanistan? How does institutionalised racism affect our various communities? How can state policies, even those meant to protect us, produce violence, And should we better regulate hate propaganda?"

    There has been a concerted effort not to link Muslims as a community with the attack in New Lynn which is to be commended. However this idea that the attack is somehow a result of some flaws in our society is just as bad if not worse.

    • Gypsy 21.1

      Well that's just Donna being Donna. She gives herself away with comments like "How does institutionalised racism affect our various communities?" and "And should we better regulate hate propaganda?". She's best ignored.

      • Gezza 21.1.1

        She's right about one thing, once our military got involved in Afghanistan & Iraq we raised the risk level for an eventual Islamic extremist attack here. There's been no shortage of attackers in Western countries whose claimed motivation was that Westerners have absolutely no business attacking Muslims in Muslim countries. It's their duty to defend Islam & dying in that endeavour is righteous.

        All it takes is a determined, damaged, and/or alienated individual.

        • Gosman 21.1.1.1

          He moved here AFTER our involvement in those places commenced while claiming he needed our protection from violence directed towards him and his family in Sri Lanka. His family argued that he got radicalised while here. I doubt he cared what NZ was doing in Iraq or Afghanistan.

          • Gezza 21.1.1.1.1

            He's described as an IS-inspired Muslim extremist / terrorist.

            Islamic State grew out of Al Qaeda, following the US invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein (on the false grounds that he possessed weapons of mass destruction that made him a danger to the West. With US initial intent to privatise that war as far as possible & for US companies to exploit Iraqi oil & gas.)

            Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Taliban all have the explicit objective of driving Western infidels out of their Muslim lands, & IS & AQ have both taken their war to the West & Africa & various places elsewhere wherever they can.

            [deleted] was quoted as posting on FB or somewhere that he wanted to attack "Kiwi scums" back home in Sri Lanka. He ended up doing it here instead. What do you think his beef with Kiwis was & why did he draw inspiration from Islamic state material?

            It's possible I suppose that he was offended by some anti-Muslim remarks he heard here, or something, but my bet is that it's also tangled up with infidels attacking Muslims in Muslim lands. Will see what else comes out.

            And remember there are a "small few others" still being monitored, according to Ardern. Why? What's their inspiration or motivation?

            • Gosman 21.1.1.1.1.1

              I find it interesting you are seeking to find justification for the terrorist's actions as if we should take the time to understand what his issues were so we can try and ensure people like him are not motivated in future to commit such heinous crimes. Does this apply to all terrorists?

              [Before this/you go off the rails, please don’t conflate understanding, explanation, and justification.

              You’ve already had a go at Donna Miles-Mojab and accusing her of “victim blaming”, and your next lazy label might be “apologist”, wo knows?

              None of the above is conducive to constructive debate, so please pay a little more attention to your comments here, thanks – Incognito]

              • Incognito

                See my Moderation note @ 12:42 pm.

              • Gezza

                I'm not seeking to find justification for this terrorist's offending. I'm saying what's often triggered these people – they're a very real security threat. These are not usually just Muslims who happen to hate Western infidels, atheists or apostates with no other context.

                I expected some sort of Islamic terrorist attack was possible after we sent troops to Afghanistan, & then to Iraq.

                What completely blindsided me & was that bastard [name of ChCh shooter deleted]. Ever since then we seem to have had a cacophany of voices claiming white supremacists are the real threat, not Islamic terrorists. And that our security services monitoring certain Muslims are just being racist.

                What I'm saying is that both are threats & we DO need to empower our security services to monitor for, detect & prevent extremist attacks.

                • Gezza

                  "The New Lynn mall terrorist claimed to know how to make a bomb and vowed to "kill someone with a knife" – possibly on Anzac Day or an event with a large crowd – if he was stopped from travelling overseas to join Isis, according to a former flatmate. The flatmate lived with the terrorist in an Auckland apartment for several months in 2017, but moved out because he became afraid of his fixation with Islamic State.

                  His flatmate was interviewed by detectives from the National Security Investigations Group and his statement – obtained by the Herald – formed part of the evidence presented to the High Court to decide bail. He often questioned his flatmate about how to travel inside Syria – where Islamic State forces were fighting – and if he had any contacts who could help.

                  in November 2016, the terrorist travelled at short notice to Samoa and was vague in his answers when questioned by Customs on his return. The police believed the trip was a "practice run" by him…testing to see whether he would be stopped from travelling.

                  "I asked him what happens if you're not allowed to travel," the flatmate told police, "and he said 'I will do something here'.

                  "I asked him what he meant by that. He says ‘I will do something outside in the street, kill someone with a knife'. He says he will try to do as much damage as possible. As an example, he mentioned Anzac Day, or some time or place where there are a lot of people."

                  The flatmate tried to reason with the terrorist to say that innocent people would be hurt, even other Muslims who shared their faith. He allegedly replied: "All people living in New Zealand are kuffar", an Arabic term for non-believers.”

                  https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/auckland-mall-terrorist-attacker [this link to the NZH article is now incomplete/broken, but can easily be found using the quoted text and Google, for example]

                  (I've edited his name out of excerpts. Sorry – dunno how to take it out of linked article & have it still work.)

                  From this further detail it looks pretty much to me like the only way to de-radicalise this guy was eventually going to be to have to kill him while he was carrying out an attack.

      • Gosman 21.1.2

        Eh??? If someone in the Media decided to blame Muslims in NZ for creating an environment that encourages attacks against them they would be rightly castigated and likely driven off the media platforms they used to make these claims. Somehow we should just ignore it from the other side because it is "just Donna being Donna". How do you justify that?

      • Incognito 21.1.3

        Like think alike.

        Aotearoa-New Zealand has no institutionalised racism and discrimination and the nation is as pure and white as freshly fallen snow.

        Here is the tag for those who need it to interpret my comment correctly: \sarc

    • Stuart Munro 21.2

      Never mind the attack, the condition in which we left Afghanistan argues that, at best, we wasted our time, and at worst we participated in a cruel folly.

    • Tricledrown 21.3

      To keep in the good books with the US George W Bush " your either with us or against us".Remember NZers died in the twin towers attack .Then John Keys get some guts.

      Once you take sides in a guerilla war vs a so called straight up war in modern warfare we are at a huge disadvantage as in our society we value life as we have a quality to it. Where the opposing forces are barely seeking out an existence so suicide bombing is ok with them as living under carpet bombing drone attacks indiscriminate attacks such as the Australian armies killing of innocent victims,Israeli occupation and destruction of Arabs .Radicilization is a product of the Judea/Christian colonialist superiority.

      Islam is also seen as a form of communism as wealth is looked down upon. Big business doesn't want sharing and caring they want selfish individualism.

      Combined with the fact both the US and UK have a long history of installing despots in the middle east to keep the peasants poor so they can't overthrow these despot dictators.

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