“On the eve of the appeal to the Supreme Court on the admissibility of police evidence in the ‘Urewera 18’ case, Wikileaks have released a cable which says the New Zealand Police told the US Embassy in Wellington that they expected those accused would only get a fine rather than jail time should they be convicted,” said Global Peace and Justice Auckland spokesperson Mike Treen.
“We can be sure that if the US Embassy received this information it was from either then Police minister Annette King or Police Commissioner Howard Broad. It is clear that the government and police have known for years that the whole case of ‘Operation 8’ is a beat up, and yet, for nearly four years the crown has thrown millions and millions of dollars into this prosecution,” said Mike Treen .
“It is absolutely ridiculous that the police are telling the US embassy that convictions will result in fines while clogging up the Auckland High Court for three months and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.
“The cops have misled the courts that this is a serious trial and that the laying of additional organised criminal gang charges against Tame Iti and 5 of the 18 co-accused make the case too confusing for a jury trial. At most this is a simple firearms trial that the police have hyped up in order to justify their brutal and terrifying raid on Ruatoki on October 15th 2007. New Zealanders should be asking why the cops are wasting millions of dollars prosecuting political activists and used the Terrorism Suppression Act to secure up to only $5000 fines.
“It is time for the cops to drop the charges and bring the ridiculous and shambolic ‘Operation 8’ to an end,” concluded Mr. Treen.
Mike Treen is available for comment on 029-525-4744 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 029-525-4744 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Charl Hirschfeld, lawyer for one of the defendants is also available for comment on 021-228-9757 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 021-228-9757 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Wikileak cable: http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/11/07WELLINGTON830.html