Monday, 13 February 2012

Peace activists?


Yes, folks, the trial of the Urewera 18, 16, 15, 4 has finally got under way this morning in Auckland’s High Court.

So we may finally hear some facts about what this motley lot are accused of, rather than the self-serving soft-soaping they and their chums have been peddling on their behalf.

It has now been four and a half years since the 18 were arrested. Four and a half years! Four and a half years in which the crown muddled while defendants and their lawyers and their friends in the media churned out press releases, interviews and media events in their defence. In the absence of a real trial we had instead a trial by media—a “trial” in which defendants were feted while all the substantive evidence against them was suppressed at the behest of their own lawyers!

Law has been very much the loser in this case.

But let’s not accept any crocodile tears about how long it’s taken for this crew to finally get before the court—like the crocodile tears John Minto et al were crying this morning about how tough it’s been for them to be on bail for so long.  Because right from day one of this whole debacle, the Urewera 18, 16, 15, 4 and their lawyers have been using every delaying tactic in the book. (That their requests for suppression only delayed proceedings even longer puts their crocodile tears now over the delays into damning perspective.) But if a justice system cannot pull together a case in four years, while fending off the shysters out looking for a loophole, that’s a pretty serious indictment of the system’s failure.

And while out on bail Tame Iti was allowed to dance his way around Europe on the taxpayer.

Only in New Zealand, one suspects, would a man facing charges of participating in an organised criminal group, unlawful possession of firearms and possession of restricted weapons be allowed to swan off around Europe on a dance tour while taxpayers sit here at home picking up his tab.

So let’s hope we finally do hear some facts in coming days. Or else we’ll be left to conclude only that our “justice” system is little more than a laughing stock.


  1. Are we talking about the same justice system that dreamt up the "principles of the Treaty of Waitangi" where none existed before?

  2. Hal Incandenza13 Feb 2012, 21:30:00

    An authoritarian libertarian. How strange.

  3. Someone disagrees...

    ..."Treaty principles are not vague and unknowable
    Amongst the recent flurry of discussion over the Crown's Treaty obligations in relation to State Owned Enterprises and whether or not the move to partially privatize SOEs would alter those obligations, I have heard commentators, pundits and media folk repeat the line that nobody really knows what Treaty principles are in any case. Well, actually, it isn't that hard to figure out what Treaty principles are. Nearly 25 years ago, the Court of Appeal determined that Treaty principles, in the very context of the State Owned Enterprises Act, included good faith and partnership, active protection, and a principle of redress. The Waitangi Tribunal has elaborated on these key principles, in numerous reports since then, articulating what 'good faith and partnership' looks like when applied to particular and varied circumstances. Te Puni Kōkiri has published a short volume that brings together various statements from Government, the Courts and the Waitangi Tribunal to set out principles of the Treaty in some detail. There is of course a wider literature on the subject of Treaty principles as well. There is no shortage of information. Treaty principles are only uncertain to the extent there is no comprehensive and exhaustive list, but to anyone who cares to look at the precedents that have been established over the last 25 years, it is pretty clear how Treaty principles will apply in any given situation."


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