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Tame and Rangi denied bail

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Today, the Court of Appeal issued a judgment on the second bail application of Tame Iti and Rangi Kemara, two of the 'Urewera 4' who were jailed for 2.5 years for firearms convictions on 24 May this year. The Court denied their application for bail.

The substantive decision of the Court of Appeal on both the convictions and the sentences for all four people - Tame, Rangi, Urs and Emily - is still forthcoming.

Tame and Rangi first applied for bail in early July in advance of the appeal date. This decision took two weeks, and ultimately the court denied them bail.

In the judgement issued today, the court says: 'The onus is on the applicants to “show cause” why bail should be granted.4 Further, s 14(1)  (of the Bail Act) provides that:

… the court must not grant bail unless it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that it would be in the interests of justice in the particular case to do so.'

There is no date for the release of the substantive judgement.

The basis of the appeal on conviction relates to the use of illegally gathered evidence which formed the substantive part of the crown's case, whether the 'objective' of an organised criminal group can be said to exist if it is contigent on the failure of another objective and with no specified period of time contemplated for its implementation - and the resulting implications of the judge's direction on this in respect of the firearms charges, and the cultural context of the area in which gun ownership is commonplace. 

The basis on the appeal on sentencing primarily relates to the judge's remarks, both at the time of summing up to the jury and at the sentencing. The Court of Appeal ruling today in relation to bail said,

'The Court considered the Judge’s sentencing remarks suggested the Judge drew a clear distinction between the s 98A charge and the firearms offences for which Mr Iti and Mr Kemara were being sentenced.'

If this comment is suggestive of the Court's ultimate decision yet to come, it is not a positive sign.

The defendants do have the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court depending on the outcome. After the five-year long saga of Operation 8, the only thing that is clear is that an end is not yet in sight.