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Why an apology should be delivered to the Urewera 18

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, September 8th, 2011 - 22 comments
Categories: human rights, law and "order" - Tags:

So the Minister of Police has issued a statement saying there would be no apology to the Urewera 18 since charges have been dropped against most of them. The Crown and the Police should absolutely apologise. The Police have said there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed against all but four of the accused.

Quick question…why did that take four years to figure out?

The ‘news’ we heard all those years ago about military style training camps, terrorism, Molotov Cocktails, firearms etc…that led the police to lay charges surely would lead us all to believe that there was easily enough evidence to take all involved to court.

Quick question, why can a charge be laid when there is insufficient evidence?

If the evidence is there to lay charges, then it should be there to continue with the charges…unless the evidence was never there.

There should be an apology and the reason is simple. If it was you or I that had been dragged through this for four years…then we’d want one. We, the law abiding, non-minority, middle class centre of NZ would want an apology no matter what we had…or hadn’t done.

If the police have trumped up the charges…an apology is needed.

If the police have stuffed up the case…an apology is needed.

If the police put you or I through 4 years of being accused terrorists, to the detriment of our families, relationships and finances then just threw it all in saying “not enough evidence” we’d demand an apology. And the people of NZ deserve an apology from the police; this is the second case this month where public money has been spent in the vicinity of $1 million…only to have the case dropped.

What about an apology to us for this funding that has basically been thrown in the fire and burnt.

I have no idea what happened in Te Urewera’s for these arrests to have taken place, I don’t neither support, nor do I condemn, the so called Urewera 18. All I know is that if you or I were put through what they were put through we’d expect, and deserve, an apology.

Why should it be any different for them?

Joe Average www.averagejoe.co.nz

22 comments on “Why an apology should be delivered to the Urewera 18 ”

  1. EagleWarrior 1

    The reasons you put up are exactly the same reasons I gave on 3news Facebook link.

    There has been a serious stuff up by the police in their investigation costing the taxpayer Millions of $$$ in their costs and court costs and legal aid costs for the accused. The accused have lost homes, families, work, oppurtunities and I bet they will never be allowed to travel overseas for holidays except to maybe Afghanistan or Iraq.

    The minimalist requirement from the Police and the crown is an apology. I don’t normally agree with Pita Sharples but I do agree that there needs to an inquiry into how the Police stuffed up their investigations. Lets not forget their wrongful arrest of two Manawatu men for arson that were later to be found innocent and were arrested because police stuffed up. Also David Bain. Arthur Alan Thomas. It’s been happening for years the police stuffing up investigations that cost to much on the taxpayers and on peoples lives.

  2. felix 2

    +1 Joe Average.

    Says a lot about Collins that she sees it as appropriate to rule out any apology ever from the NZ Police with so much still unknown and presumably disputed.

    What a nasty piece of work.

  3. Bill 3

    Not been following this as closely as I might have been.

    But, how many Rob Gilchrists’ are out there?

    If informants are the source of police ‘intelligence’, then would that explain (at least in part) their screamingly inappropriate actions?

    Informants must ‘perform’. And tails can wag dogs.

    So maybe an apology is a step too far for the police (and the state?) because it would entail an admission. A ‘the police force is akin to the Keystone Cops’ admission.

    And we all know, that above all else, people must have respect for the police. Can’t have them fronting up and blowing all those hard won propaganda gains. There is afterall, a reason why popular culture moved away from portraying cops in a dismissive light .

    • bbfloyd 3.1

      so the fear people are starting to regard their own police with is a better alternative?

      how about respecting the police for their integrity and honesty while they go about doing an important job on behalf of the community they are supposed to serve?

      that doesn’t require propaganda to get through to people… it simply requires the police to exercise restraint, and common sense in their approach……

      • Bill 3.1.1

        “so the fear people are starting to regard their own police with is a better alternative?”


        I’ve usually had no problem with individual officers. And I’vemostly had no problems with the police as an institution in my dealings with them.

        But I certainly don’t respect the police as an institution. And I have nothing but contempt for the fact they can excercise a power that can truly fuck up your life.

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    The other possibility is that the whole thing was done as a ‘pre-emptive strike’, an extension of the American philosophy that although people are not terrorists at the moment they could become terrorists, so we are ‘justified’ in attacking them. Wipe out your enemy before he becomes your enemy. The empire will apply any distorted logic it likes and has the courts to rubber stamp injustice.

  5. joe90 5

    Since 11/9/2001 35,000 people worldwide have been convicted of terror offences so perhaps our local spooks thought they were missing out.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I wonder if the local spooks ran their intel by Oz and US spooks first, and what advice were we given.

      • joe90 5.1.1

        Yup, we’ll resume our ‘special relationship’ just as soon as you round up a goodly number of your own terror suspects.

  6. deemac 6

    on the other hand, do you really think in this day and age the police can just ignore people running around with guns and talking about assassinations? Maybe the accused are just annoying idiots but just maybe one or two of them really meant it. Norwegian police knew about Brevik but thought it was just hot air.
    I am still puzzled why the Supreme Court ruling is suppressed – not much open justice at work there…

  7. vto 7

    I would just like to know what they were all getting up to that got the police attention to such an extent.

    It’s all very murky and hush hush on all sides.

    • insider 7.1

      Nothing apparantly…

      • vto 7.1.1

        Well yes it seems that way doesn’t it.

        I know people on this site know what they were getting up to. Why not tell?

        • lprent

          The various groups of activists were organizing in the same way that a group like Young Labour or Young National do. They go away somewhere isolated, people from a range of backgrounds (probably not the yNats) get to mingle and share experiences while listening to speakers on various topics interleaved with various exercises in team building or of use to them (like how to do surveillance on animal abuse).

          I have been involved in similar exercises from scouts, rotary, army, management, management training, programming, the net (like nethui), political and activist. The problem is that the systems are pretty universal and are also used by the police for their training. So when some fools in the police saw them being used they jumped to conclusions about what the intent was and never got around to reexamining their presumptions.

          Since they have been steadily losing their better informants within the activist movements, they failed to get or ignored more precise information.

          They probably expected to find in their searches and interviews evidence to support their case. The problem is that there wasn’t anything to find. Consequently they wound up with a complete screwup on their hands when in the end they found bugger all.

          So to save face the police manufactured a case made out of fantasies constructed from bullshit, dubious hearsay from CI’s, and some rather illegal police activities. This at least allowed them to move the consequences of their poor work into the future. On the way through it also allowed them to punish before conviction those who caused the police the embarrassment of not being villains.

          So that is where we are now. The solicitor general threw out their original case before going to court because it was outright fantasy. The courts have been steadily disallowing evidence because the police have not been able to meet the standard of threat before collection required to justify the method of collection of that evidence. What we are left with amounts to a few charges based on evidence collected in the search warrants – that were given and executed under dubious authorization.

          • insider

            Sorry Lynn but how often did your camps involve the secret exchange of a pistol and suppressor with a ‘peace activist’? How often did you talk about killing high profile figures? Squads doing hits? Acquiring grenade launchers? Blowing up major infrastructure? Doing robberies? Using tungsten projectiles that will go through police body armour and the following person?

            To say this was a bunch of young people doing the Famous Five Go Foraging or whatever is just a self deluding nonsense.

  8. insider 8

    SO is the standard you are proposing that the police/govt apologise to everyone either found not guilty or who have charges dropped? This is not the first time this has happened. Courts rule on admissibility of evidence all the time. Are the police going to have to apologise every time the court makes a ruling against them?

  9. Andrew 9

    The police and prosecution regularly amend, substitute and withdraw charges. It is part of the nature of the court process, they do so to ensure that the proper charges are put as the evidence evolves. Often defence lawyers will highlight areas of weakness to the prosecution and encourage withdrawals.

    The level of evidence required for a convicton is beyond reasonable doubt, it often emerges after further investigation, discussions and input from defence witnesses and counsel that the eveidence may not reach this threshold, however it is clear that on the balance of probabilities the person committed the offence.

    If someone is acquitted in a trial, they are found Not Guilty, they are not found innocent. Similarly if the police decide to save the tax payer some money and withdraw a charge prior to trial, most times it is not recognising the person is innocent, it is because they are concerned the evidence does not quite reach that threshold of beyond reasonable doubt.

    It is entirely appropriate that the police decline to apologise unless it is clear that the defendants were innocent on the balance of probabilities, from everything I have seen regarding the case, there is no suggestion that the defendants were innocent on the balance of probabilites.

    As for the delay, I’m not ina position to know the reasons, but all trials take at least a year to progess to a jury, with an investigation of this size, with that many defendants and witnesses, I am amazed that a trial was even able to be scheduled in the first place.

    The defendants should count themselves lucky that the police withdrew and not push their luck.

    • lprent 9.1

      We are aware of all that. There is also a very strong trend in a cases against political activists of the police using the court process as a punishment device. After all if the police tie them up in court with status hearings requiring personal appearances (taking time off work to do so), paying lawyers, and strenuous bail conditions without any intent of taking it to trial – they can punish without conviction.

      And they do that all of the time. I have lost count of the number of times my niece has been charged for using a megaphone in a protest. Which is a pointless case because she previously won the case at the high court that said she was entitled to use it in protests in a public space in daylight hours. It hasn’t stopped the police from laying charges, and taking through to trial where they decline to offer evidence. They know that they cannot win the case when they lay charges. Perhaps you can show how that fits into your nice theoretical framework?

      Perhaps you should pick up some actual experience of the relations between police and activists? But from what I hav seen the police find the courts delays to be useful. I think that they would find them less useful if the courts started to make the police pay the accused costs if they do not secure a conviction.

  10. jerry 10

    Hippy’s! Stinky bloody Maori’s.

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