THIS JUST IN

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  • blindjackdog,

    No Kyle, there's a third possibility, which goes something like this:

    The police have strong evidence of people doing broadly irresponsible and probably illegal things with guns and possibly other explosives. They have effectively put a stop to these activities, and the Solicitor General lauds them for that. Fair enough, right? "Disturbing activities" or whatever the phrase was.

    The police have further, less compelling, evidence of some degree of "organisation" or at least conversation along a vaguely "revolutionary" line. It proves absolutley nothing and would be laughed out of court, but the SG is professionally compelled to state that the police did the right thing in bringing it to his attention.

    (Like the principle pats the prefect on the head when brought a list of all the third form boys sighted in the vicinity of the bike sheds.)

    It's spin in the sense that it's the truth presented in such a way that nobody within the justice system is seen to be at odds. But that's simply the way such systems work. It's about presenting a broadly coherent and united front. But that doesn't make anybody corrupt or dishonest. Just careful with language.

    Here's what I find disturbing:

    Everyone seems to agree that the TSA was "incoherent" here because it was drafted for the sake of fulfilling NZ's international obligations re "the war on terror."

    Now there's been an attempt to apply said law domestically and nobody's been charged.

    And as far as I know there's no terrorism going on in NZ.

    Yet apparently the TSA now needs to be redrafted to deal with NZ's domestic terrorism problem.

    Although we never needed such legislation before, and it's only there in the first place because of our international obligations.

    So these guys and girls were guilty of terrorism, just they didn't get charged, let alone convicted?

    Cos Greg O'Conner says so?

    So everyone who was "waiting before making a judgement" has decided that their judgement is: Guilty (only not, um, under law, but, you know, that's cos the law's no good).

    Or something.

    So, conclusion: There's active terrorism in NZ; bad legislation meant it went unprosecuted; if only we'd had better legislation you'd be seeing now just how freakin scary this stuff is; better get that new, improved legislation.

    Yeah?

    Am I missing something, or has the world gone mad?

    Since Nov 2007 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Everyone seems to agree that the TSA was "incoherent" here because it was drafted for the sake of fulfilling NZ's international obligations re "the war on terror."

    Now there's been an attempt to apply said law domestically and nobody's been charged.

    And as far as I know there's no terrorism going on in NZ.

    Yet apparently the TSA now needs to be redrafted to deal with NZ's domestic terrorism problem.

    Although we never needed such legislation before, and it's only there in the first place because of our international obligations.

    So these guys and girls were guilty of terrorism, just they didn't get charged, let alone convicted?

    Cos Greg O'Conner says so?

    So everyone who was "waiting before making a judgement" has decided that their judgement is: Guilty (only not, um, under law, but, you know, that's cos the law's no good).

    Or something.

    So, conclusion: There's active terrorism in NZ; bad legislation meant it went unprosecuted; if only we'd had better legislation you'd be seeing now just how freakin scary this stuff is; better get that new, improved legislation.

    Yeah?

    Am I missing something, or has the world gone mad?

    Finally the voice of reason. Please stick around BlindDogJack unless you have something better to do all day ; )

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    My understanding that the TSA came into it because it was the only law they could apply for the interception warrants under.

    Your understanding would be wrong. The police could have applied for an interception warrant if they suspected that someone was about to commit a "serious violent offence" (like, say, killing someone, or blowing something up). But if they'd done that, they would have been unable to bludgeon the judge with the T-word (and the fear of being publicly named as the guy who refused a warrant if anything bad did happen) into granting it.

    Basically, the police chose which law to pursue this under. They made their own bed. Now they get to sleep in it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Margaret B,

    Peter Hunter: The accused who were remanded in custody and whose trials were shifted to Auckland from Wellington were transported up by prison van and plane (ie at the cost of Corrections). Now that they have been bailed the responsibility for their travel home to Wellington (and back to Auckland for trial unless they are in custody at the time) will be borne by them personally. I suspect that they will now have a strong argument to shift their case back to Wellington.

    I understand this is the same for anyone in a similar situation (ie not just cos of the T word).

    And go blindjackdog!

    Since Oct 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • blindjackdog,

    Thanks guys. Nice to feel welcome.

    Think I've said my bit for now though. (It took all day to compose and was rehearsed somewhat vehemently over lunch to a couple of startled colleagues.)

    But I'll keep reading along. Nothing like observing the communal mind at work.

    Since Nov 2007 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    THis comes back to the whole thing about an offence being 'imminent', and 'specific target'. The way I understood it Broad said TSA was the only way they could get the intercept warrants, which I read as the potential offences were too nascent (sp?) for them to justify an intercept under the crimes act, but they were concerned enough to not want to wait and they fitted the TSA category. They couldn't use the TSA as an excuse for an intercept in a drugs case say.

    In terms of redrafting the TSA, I think they are saying it needs redrafting to achieve its intended aims. Broad said it was meant to have a lower threshold than the crimes act for action to be taken (though I/S disagrees) and they were acting under that impression and on advice from the Crown Solicitor.

    It happens occasionally with laws that when put under scrutiny they do not appear as clear as everyone thought. Changing them as a result is not sinister.

    Che - I'm sure Broad said from his press conference on day 1 that there were no international connections so I think you can ignore that angle.

    I think the issue is, why was the Crown Law advice so quickly and seemingly quite roundly dismissed by the SG? You'd have thought that first time around they would have been veeery conservative in their reading of the law and its powers. Maybe that's just me...

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Just a thought: If David Collins found the TSA to be "incomprehensible" and "unnecessarily complex, incoherent", could he not have mentioned this some time in the last year or so?

    Also
    Tame Iti, four other suspects receive bail

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    insider. ta. i'll happily retire my conspiracy neurons and get on with the weekend then.

    cheers all.

    </out>

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Thank you blindjackdog for taking the time to compose such a well rounded observation and padding out what I have been saying all along, I just tend to type furiously and tend to lose my point.

    I just don't get how a couple of weeks ago everyone would say "I'm waiting to see the evidence of what actually happened before I draw any firm conclusions."

    This is the part that has been worrying me. It's a bit like the term "terrorist" in that it has been bandied about so much that it becomes "the phrase" and ignores the fact that if the tsa charges had stuck then 16 people could have rotted in jail for two years while we all sat around saying "let's wait and see"
    Hang on 16 17 ? is someone missing here? are there more?
    I could say more but a helicopter is hovering over my house, but let's wait and see eh?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Your understanding would be wrong. The police could have applied for an interception warrant if they suspected that someone was about to commit a "serious violent offence" (like, say, killing someone, or blowing something up).

    What Broad said this morning (having just listened to the 9 to noon interview) is that use of the TSA enabled earlier intervention than the serious violent offence option. That is, a specific target did not need to be identified.

    So yes, they did make the choice, but they also didn't write the law which apparently let them down, they just tried to use it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    So, conclusion: There's active terrorism in NZ; bad legislation meant it went unprosecuted; if only we'd had better legislation you'd be seeing now just how freakin scary this stuff is; better get that new, improved legislation.

    Hmm.

    Recently some police officers were taken to trial for sexual assault. Large numbers of people around the country knew that two of them were in jail already, for another sexual assault, committed at a similar time. The court would not let the jury know/consider that, rightly or wrongly.

    If we were to believe (as it is in some other countries I understand) that previous convictions should be admissible in court, then after Rickards and his mates got off, then we'd want that law changed to allow that.

    So to rework your statement above:

    "Some cops did some really bad things; bad legislation meant it went unprosecuted (because the full facts of previous similar behaviour could not be put before the court); if only we had better legislation, Rickards might be behind bars now; better get that new improved legislation."

    Not unreasonable.

    It's a shame that parliament didn't write good TSA legislation, and that great legal minds didn't get it fixed before it became law.

    If however you believe the Solicitor General, and a bunch of other people that the TSA is a dog's breakfast, shouldn't it be rewritten?

    So everyone who was "waiting before making a judgement" has decided that their judgement is: Guilty (only not, um, under law, but, you know, that's cos the law's no good).

    Well I think people are perfectly capable of making up their own minds, contrary to the decision of courts. Personally I think Rickards probably was guilty. I also think that Peter Ellis was probably innocent. David Bain, I have no idea anymore. But with all of them, I've had the opportunity to hear the evidence and make up my mind.

    The 12 people who were put forward under the TSA, I don't know how many of them, if any, are guilty of planning terrorist activities. But as a result of yesterday, I won't get the opportunity to hear all the evidence, and that's a failing of the system.

    Maybe they're innocent, which is great. But as much as possible I'd like the decisions of courts (innocent/guilty) to match up with what happened in the real world (did/didn't do it). Having all the evidence before the court is important to make that happen.

    What bugs me is that people blame the police. Parliament wrote a law for the police to use to catch terrorists. OK, I don't think we need specific terrorist laws, but whatever.

    Having written that law however, it's perfectly reasonable, when the police suspect someone is preparing/planning etc to carry out what they consider a terrorist act, to use the TSA. Idiot Savant however, believes that they shouldn't use the law written specifically for the activities which they thought they were looking at. If they don't use it for terrorists, what do they use it for?

    If the police hadn't used the TSA, right now the media would all be bagging them for not using the legislation that had been written to catch and convict terrorists. So they use the TSA, and it gets shot down. How do the police win?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But as a result of yesterday, I won't get the opportunity to hear all the evidence, and that's a failing of the system.

    I'm not sure I agree with this one. Does the public really have the right to know about inadmissible evidence? Part of the reason it's inadmissible was because the collection of it did not satisfy evidence collection standards for the charges these people face. Quite a lot of the point of inadmissible processes is to protect the rights and reputations of the accused.

    I also don't buy the 'TSA must be strengthened' outcome. Personally I think this shows how useless anti-Terror legislation really is, how much of a political football that doesn't stand up to serious processes. Terrorism is not well defined because it can't be, for reasons so many people have gone into for so long - if you are serious about it, it casts far too wide a net, right over the security intelligence services provided in most nations. And that actually makes their job of catching terrorists a lot harder. You end up having to describe the actual groups, rather than describing the behaviour, and that makes for fucked laws. Then they just have to be in a new group and they're safe. Or they could be in an old group and do nothing at all and still get busted, or at least heavily persecuted.

    We already have laws to deal with everything to do with terrorism. If people do something illegal, whether they fall under the very vague blanket of terrorism or not, then they're a criminal and the police nail them. If they were credibly planning to, they can also be busted, but on a lesser charge. The planning is very hard to prove, and fair enough - plans are nowhere near as bad as actions. The number of people I've spoken to in my life who said they want to kill someone, and told me exactly how they would do it is undefinedly larger than the number of them who have actually killed someone. None of them have, they just talked about it. Talking about it often makes it less likely, because a fucked plan like murder over a personal grievance is more easily seen as a fucked plan when another pair of ears hears it.

    If you really want to bust terrorists doing terrorism, you need to catch them at it. Hard but true. It's hard because it's more dangerous for police, and the targets too. But the alternative is a grave danger to all of society, namely police who violate our rights for our political beliefs all the time. The safer route is exactly what the police have done in this case. Bust them for illegally having the means to commit whatever atrocity they might have done. Take the means away. Give sentences appropriate to that, which are far more minor than terrorist acts and terrorist planning, but are still not insubstantial.

    Some of these guys are facing jail. I think that's a pretty stiff penalty for having illegal firearms, since this is an extremely widespread phenomenon. But it sounds like they had a lot of them. That and all the talk of using them is a good enough reason for charges. Let a jury decide how much clemency to give after seeing the facts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    TV3 connection again...

    Top-level leak of arms case evidence

    "Lead lawyer for the accused, Annette Sykes, said the files contained information that even the defendants and their lawyers had not been able to see."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4267865a10.html

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Some of these guys are facing jail. I think that's a pretty stiff penalty for having illegal firearms, since this is an extremely widespread phenomenon. But it sounds like they had a lot of them.

    Does anyone know this for sure? It's my understanding that the police captured a grand total of three illegal firearms but I'm not sure where I heard this and I'm happy to be proved wrong.

    I also believe that most of the firearms charges are historical - ie, unlawful discharge of a firearm.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    this from the Stuff link above:

    Crown lawyers last night stopped TV3's Campbell Live from broadcasting evidence in files prepared by police for Solicitor-General David Collins and leaked to TV3...... Lawyers for the accused discovered after 3 News went to air that the files had been leaked...... They contacted TV3 and threatened to seek an injunction.

    A coupla things:
    I was driving my car at 6pm yesterday listening to 3News simulcast on RadioLive. They led the broadcast with the announcement that Campbell Live had the leaked documents and would reveal its contents at 7 (I'm paraphrasing). So all we heard was a 'teaser' for what the documents contained.

    My first thought was 'how dumb are TV3?'. If you have the document you get it on air a.s.a.p. You don't telegraph that you have it and will broadcast it in one hours time. That's one hour for TVNZ to call the authorities and ask 'where's our copy?', that's one hour for the authorities to go to court and get an injunction to stop TV3 from broadcasting the (information in the) document. Were TV3 really that naive that they thought 'it's 6pm friday, the courts are shut, everyone's gone home, it'll be too late to stop us'?? Like, duh, this is terrorism matey ...

    So I was out and unable to set my DVR remotely (ah yes, the day is soon coming when you will be able to call the machine and press record!) to record Campbell Live, but it turns out they were unable to reveal the contents of the documents anyway because ... because ... well, there was no actual injunction, just a threatened injunction.

    Interesting.

    Methinks TV3 didn't actually want to reveal the contents all along. Maybe they just wanted to look like they were on the side of 'the public's right to know'.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    and the TV3 website is strangely barren on the subject too:
    all they say is

    Fri, 09 Nov 2007 07:42p.m.

    Campbell Live has obtained the evidence collected by police which was given to the Solicitor General in an effort to charge people under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

    The material has not been made public. It is part of the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the whole "anti-terror raids" business.

    The problem with such secrecy is that something always fills the vacuum it creates. Politicians wade in, the media have a field day - everyone expresses their opinion.

    As a result, whole communities get tarnished with these allegations.

    Yet what the evidence overwhelming shows us is that whole communities were not involved. In the evidence, the number of people saying things which may be described as violently anti-social numbers five.

    Campbell Live speaks with former senior police officer Ross Meurant and veteran activist John Minto.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm not sure I agree with this one. Does the public really have the right to know about inadmissible evidence? Part of the reason it's inadmissible was because the collection of it did not satisfy evidence collection standards for the charges these people face. Quite a lot of the point of inadmissible processes is to protect the rights and reputations of the accused.

    I'm not saying that we should get to know about inadmissable evidence. If, for example, the police collect evidence under duress - forced confessions for example - absolutely not.

    I'm saying that this evidence, which apparently (at least according to John Campbell last night) has statements from "less than 6" (I guess that's 5, obscured for legal protection?) people talking about committing serious crimes is something that I'd like to be used in court.

    If we pushed rewind, went back a year or so, and the police changed one thing - the law they put on those interception warrants - then I presume they'd still get the warrants, and we'd be hearing that evidence, and some people might potentially be facing, on the basis of that evidence, some much more serious charges than firearms charges. Innocent or guilty.

    All I want in my legal system is if people have done a crime, or prepared/planned/attempted a crime, that they face that charge in a court of law. Or, given the unknowns, "the police have good reason to believe that they have done/prepared/planned for, or attempted a crime" that they face that charge.

    Apparently that will not happen in this case. The police believe that some people have planned/prepared to commit some sort of serious crimes, but they will not face those charges.

    If that's true, then that's a failing of the system.

    I also don't buy the 'TSA must be strengthened' outcome.

    I don't believe there should be terror laws either. Personally I'm quite opposed to them.

    But if you're going to have a law it should work for what it's intended for. I don't know if that means 'strengthened' or just 'no longer a pile of crap'. What we don't want is for there to be laws that the police try and use in their work, and for those laws to be unworkable. That's not fair on the police, and it's not fair on the public.

    If you really want to bust terrorists doing terrorism, you need to catch them at it. Hard but true.

    Personally I'm happy for the police to step in early. There's a boundary you don't want them to cross, but it becomes a lot more dangerous for everyone if the explosives are in the person's possession. If someone has been trying to get explosives and there's evidence they were going to use it, that sounds like a good time for the police to intervene safely to me.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interesting.

    Methinks TV3 didn't actually want to reveal the contents all along. Maybe they just wanted to look like they were on the side of 'the public's right to know'.

    Very interesting. Intriguing analysis, I/O.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    "Yet what the evidence overwhelming shows us is that whole communities were not involved. In the evidence, the number of people saying things which may be described as violently anti-social numbers five."

    Which kinda tallies with the perception that a number of the 17 were very unlucky to be dragged into it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I've read through the Terrorism Suppression Act and it doesn't seem unclear to me.

    I think the intent of Parliament when passing it, amongst other things, was to:
    - criminalise membership of an established terrorist organisation (typically, one that was already committing acts here or overseas)
    - introduce a new offence of committing a terrorist act

    What they deliberately didn't do was to make vague plotting, threats and fantasizing an offence, as other countries (like the UK) have.

    Which I think is a good thing. It means that there is a small chance that somebody will one day manage to commit an act that would have otherwise been foiled. But terrorists of any competence would be able to avoid detection until at least the moment of action - so only incompetent terrorists would be caught. I would hope that most targets would be reasonable protected against such incompetents.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I think the intent of Parliament when passing it, amongst other things, was to ... introduce a new offence of committing a terrorist act

    The Terrorism Suppression Act didn't create a new offence of committing a terrorist act. That new offence will be created by the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Act currently before Parliament.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Which I think is a good thing. It means that there is a small chance that somebody will one day manage to commit an act that would have otherwise been foiled. But terrorists of any competence would be able to avoid detection until at least the moment of action - so only incompetent terrorists would be caught.

    Wait. You're happy with a law that doesn't catch terrorists until after they've committed their act? You don't want to, y'know, catch them before they set off their bomb?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Kyle, do you want laws that catch criminals before they've committed their act?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Kyle, do you want laws that catch criminals before they've committed their act?

    Just to be pendantic, before they've commited an act, aren't they just 'people', not 'criminals'?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Just to be pendantic, before they've commited an act, aren't they just 'people', not 'criminals'?

    Don't worry, the irony was intended.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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