Urewera 4 | Court Report – Day Two | Oct 15 Solidarity via IndiaMedia

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Submitted by October 15th Solidarity (not verified) on 14 February 2012 – 6:30pm
in Local Operation Eight

Court started with the crown opening statement – 38 pages of police fantasy and crown fiction complete with a powerpoint – that lasted until the lunch break at 1pm.

In this narrative, crown prosecutor Ross Burns started out by saying that ‘in this country we don’t prosecute people for their political beliefs.’ He then said that politics would be a big part of the case and formed the backdrop of it. He proceeded to lay out sensational parts of the crown case: video footage (illegally obtained), a ‘scenario’ document, some text messages and chat room logs, and lots of police and two “civilian” witnesses. He said that the four people on trial had the objective of committing ‘serious and violent offences’ – sabotage, kidnapping, etc – along with everyone else he subsequently identified in the footage who was also part of the criminal group. He effectively said that the possession of weapons by everyone was the responsibility of the four accused, irrespective of the fact that in some cases, they weren’t even in the country!

The afternoon was taken up with defence opening statements from Russell Fairbrother (for Taame), Jeremy Bioletti (for Rangi), Christopher Stevenson (for Urs) and Val Neisbitt (for Emily). These were all succinct, as their statements are limited to raising issues arising from the crown’s opening statement. Nevertheless, all gave compelling addresses asking the jury to remain open-minded, to consider the different worlds and contexts in operation in this country – te Ao Maori and te Ao Pakeha, to remember that facts actually need to be facts, not just assertions by the crown, and that at the end of it all, they are not guilty of any crimes.

The crown called their first witness, Detective Inspector Jago, who gave incredibly dry and boring evidence about the placement of illegal and unlawful police video cameras all over Te Urewera.

The jury (and public gallery) was dismissed at 3:30 in order that two applications could be discussed: a site visit to Ruatoki, and witness protection (from the media, e.g. pixellation).

Court resumes with cross-examination of Jago tomorrow at 10am.

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Tena koutou,this is the last newsletter before the trial against Taame, Emily, Rangi and Urs gets underway in the Auckland High Court on Monday, 13th February 2012. The trial is expected to last up to three months. In this jam-packed newsletter, we have put together information about the defendants and the people who want to lock them up, last minute updates on upcoming events (there is a powhiri at Waipapa Marae (16 Wynyard Street, Auckland Uni) this Sunday at 5pm for the defendants and supporters) and reflecting on the past 4.5 years.

Now is the time to stand in solidarity with the defendants who are facing long prison sentences and expose the police racism and state terrorism. Our friends are not terrorists, nor are they criminals. They are committed to the liberation struggle – FREE THE UREWERA 4!

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