It's unfortunate that our courts seem to have forgotten the crucial principle that underpins their work: that justice must not only be done must must be seen to be done. When justice is kept under wraps, all sorts of nonsense appears in the vacuum.
In the case of the 'Urewera 16' we're naturally all as hungry as hell to find out if what we've heard only by rumour and innuendo has any element of truth, or if any of the criticism is justified. It all comes down to the evidence. Sadly however in allowing defendants' lawyers to have names, facts and evidence suppressed, the courts have ensured the vacuum will be exploited by the defenders of violence -- and if anyone can exploit a vacuum the likes of John Minto and Annette Sykes and Keith Locke can -- and all sorts of fatuous nonsense has been able to take root, some of the most fatuous being from the defendants' lawyers themselves. The weekend's Minto mob outside Labour's conference ("Helen Clark." "Terrorist." Repeat x 24) and the hand-wringing opportunism of Peter Williams QC are simply the most recent examples of the sort of sick nonsense that's proliferating in the vacuum where everyone's trying to claim the high ground in the benefit-of-the-doubt stakes.
It's clear enough from my own visits to the court last week just why the defendants want several years' worth of surveillance evidence to be kept from public view since almost every line is damning. So why do the courts consider us so immature that we can't handle hearing the evidence for ourselves in media repors, instead of hearing only the nonsense that its absence has generated?
UPDATE: He doesn't cover the suppression of evidence by the courts, but Graeme Edgeler tells you everything you need to know about bail, which is what last week's hearings were about.