TV3: Solicitor General says no to terrorism prosecutionsSo 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:
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.
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.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.
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.
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?