13 down, 4 to go - Police case collapsing
The dropping of all charges against 13 accused yesterday in the Police Operation 8 case is an enormous victory for the defendants, their whanau and supporters across the country and across the world. There are four people who continue to face charges and the struggle for their freedom will continue.
The crown has now withdrawn their objection against a jury-trial for the remaining defendants. A trial is scheduled to start on 13th February 2012.
UPDATE: The defendants who had their charges dropped will have them formally withdrawn in a hearing at the Auckland High Court this Monday, 12th September. A solidarity picket will start at 8.30am outside the court.
Solidarity protest outside of the Auckland High Court
Monday 12 September 8.30am. (Please note change of date and time!)
13 accused in the Urewera case will be discharged from the Auckland High Court on Monday.
Please join us for a solidarity picket demanding the freedom of the four remaining people – Emily Bailey, Urs Signer, Rangi Kemara and Taame Iti - and an end to all of Operation 8.
Urewera charges dropped against 13: the struggle continues...
The dropping of all charges against 13 accused in the Police Operation 8 case is an enormous victory for the defendants, their whanau and supporters across the country and across the world. There are four people who continue to face charges and the struggle for their freedom will continue.
This whole operation has been a disaster from start to finish.
‘For four years we have been terrorised by the New Zealand State. The police undertook an armed invasion of Ruatoki on the 15th of October 2007. They arrested us and put us in prison while they tried to charge us with terrorism. That failed. Now after four years, millions and millions of dollars, and systematic denial of rights to accused, the case has totally failed’ said defendant Valerie Morse.
‘The Supreme court decision last week which paved the way for the dropping of the charges is a serious indictment of the police’s activities.’
‘The charges that remain against four people are a desperate attempt by the crown to salvage their reputation and justify this whole fiasco. The charge of “participation in a criminal group” is a trumped up charge brought by the crown more than a year after the raids in October 2007. The crown avoided making them before the month-long depositions hearing in September 2008 so they didn’t even bother to have to make a prima facie case. The charge is akin to “thought crime” since none of the defendants is charged with any act of violence whatsoever.”
‘We can be sure that the crown and police will be waging a propaganda war in the next few months leading up to any trial to try to convince the New Zealand public that they are really bad people. The reality is that Taame Iti, Rangi Kemara, Emily Bailey and Urs Signer are freedom fighters, and we will not rest until they are free. We will continue to fight for justice and an end to this nightmare.’