Tuesday, September 06, 2011

As the sun sinks slowly in the west...

... one of the most shameful episodes in NZ criminal justice is quietly coming to an end.

I have no connection with those charged, other than the fact that for two years I lived in a similar community where my father was headmaster at the local school. I was 8 at the time.

That it has taken so long for the Justice system to pull its thumb from its collective arsehole is beyond belief. That it has occurred only 4 months before a General Election only adds to the solid stench of political agendae and unsettled scores.

Firearms charges against most of those arrested in the police raids on alleged military training camps in the Ureweras have been dropped.

But four of the accused, including Tame Iti, will still stand trial on charges of participating in an organised crime group and firearms charges.

The Supreme Court has ruled certain evidence inadmissable at the so-called "terror raid" trial of next year which was set to last for three months.

The groundbreaking decision over-ruled previous judgments from the High Court and Court of Appeal over whether the Crown could use evidence gathered in the covert police operation before the arrests in October 2007.

The Crown has now dropped the Operation Eight prosecution against 13 of the 17 accused, according to a statement just released by the Auckland Crown Solicitor, Simon Moore SC.

Mr Moore said the judgment of the Supreme Court is subject to suppression orders and cannot be reported.

The most immediate question has to be "Why" can this latest step not be reported?
The effect of the delay would be that those accused facing Arms Act charges alone would not be tried for a period of four and a half years from the date of their arrest," said Mr Moore.

"Further, they were remanded in custody for a period of time following their arrest, and they have been on restrictive bail conditions through much of the time since their release.

"Taking these matters into account together with findings made by the Supreme Court about the seriousness of their offending, it is the Crown decision that the continuation of proceedings would not be in the public interest."

You bet it would not, nor will it be, simply because the whole process from the day the AOS stepped onto their bus and drove to Ruatoki has been nothing less than a monumental fuck-up. I will say it. It is so bad that I can not believe for a moment that it was solely the responsibility of the Police. There has to have been another hand. There is only one that could move things in the mysterious way this has progressed.


Which raises the next question. Why has the Jonkey been so slow in making it known to the Police and the Justice system that enough is more than enough.

The secrecy has to end. It might be justified to the time that the last remaining charges are settled.

Then the book must be opened.

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