Thursday, 8 November 2007

No terrorism prosecutions

TV3: Solicitor General says no to terrorism prosecutions
People arrested during police raids over alleged training camps in Bay of Plenty will not face charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act. The Solicitor General, David Collins QC, said today he had advised the Commissioner of Police that he was ‘unable to authorise’ the prosecutions under the Terrorism Act... However, he said that he believed police did have sufficient and proper basis for investigating the activities in question.
So what was all the protesting about, before the evidence was even heard? Newsroom has more, including a useful clarification of the reason for Collins' decision:
He says the key reason he is not prepared to authorise prosecutions is that there is insufficient evidence to establish to the very high standard required that a group or entity was planning or preparing to commit a terrorism act, as the term is defined under the current legislation.

Mr Collins was severely critical of the legislation and said it was unnecessarily complex and incoherent, and as a result it was almost impossible to apply to the circumstances of this case...

“The Terrorism Suppression Act legislation is unnecessarily complex, incoherent and as a result almost impossible to apply to the domestic circumstances observed by the police in this case,” the Solicitor-General said.

“Some may try to interpret my decision as a criticism of the police. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

He said he believed the police had sufficient and proper basis for investigating the activities in question.

He said he had examined many hundreds of pages of intercepted communications and a large number of photographs taken by the police as well as video footage and that not all of the evidence would become public.

Sounds like it was a somewhat reluctant decision, doesn't it. And sounds like we'll never know how much fire there was in relation to all the smoke.

All sixteen still face firearms charges, but presumably since the extensive evidence derived from surveillance okayed under the Terrorism Suppression Act will not be available to be used in court, those charges might be difficult to prove.

And maybe it's time to reconsider this reputation Geoffrey Palmer has for being a master-drafter of legislation?


  1. Poorly drafted legislation eh? There would appear to be a lot of it about.

    Back in the old communist countries the legislation and regulation was so poorly and broadly written that if ever the authorities wanted to arrest someone, they were guaranteed that any person would be guilty of breaking some law or rule. There were just so many catch-all laws and regs that one had to break them just to live. Recently, during a TV interview, Dave Henderson pointed out that NZ Tax Law is like that.

    Returning to the "terorists". As nasty as these thugs are it would now appear that they will get off without much further trouble And so they should. Ownership of firearms is not a crime. Nor is saying things that are offensive to others.

    As for the Police and the SIS. This is a disaster for them. This incident will be interpreted as demonstrating incompetance, corruption, prejudice and institutional racism. It will fuel the grievance industry for some time to come. Can you imagine the arrogance they'll treat the Police with now and, in return, how diplomatically and gently the Police will have to treat these guys from now on? And for ordinary people it will mean that more of NZ will become off-limits.

    The justice system also takes a hit in the chops over this business. Conservatives, having already convicted the accused as guilty, will now consider the system weak and incompetant. Liberals will see the system as tainted; necessarily backing down in the face of the evidence of its institutionalised corruption and bias. For them, "people power" has once again saved the day.

    The press release is full of wordsmithing and excuses. Fact is, the Plice got it wrong this time. According to the Solicitor General's own DECISION, they did not ever posses sufficient evidence to convict. Therefore they should not have acted as they did.

    How does this assist the government one wonders? It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Watch out for more Welfare for the thugs...


  2. And watch out for a new and "improved" Anti-Terrorism Act. It would appear that the PM is to have the power to determine which organisations are "terrorist" and also to determine what activities are "terrorist".


  3. There will be no justice in this case. Some very nasty people are going to get away with a most heinous plot because the courts will never get to hear the evidence, nor will we.
    Don’t be deceived by skinny white girl students standing in the dock...these people are dangerous!
    They represent all that is evil within man.
    And I don’t think planning serious criminal activities constitutes legitimate privacy!
    I still thank God the police halted these extremist plans and at least they now know what these maniacs are up to.
    Tim Wikiriwhi

  4. What was Geoffrey Palmer's involvement in drafting the legislation?


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