Aotearoa/NZ: the Urewera 4 will not be re-tried for ‘Participation in an Organised Criminal Group’

Urewera 4: State Nil: “We are relieved,” said Ana Cocker from the October 15th Solidarity Group in response to the announcement that the Urewera 4 will not be re-tried on Section 98a, ‘Participation in an Organised Criminal Group.’

“This decision has been long overdue, in fact the whole case should never have gone ahead. It is now time the firearms convictions against Tame, Rangi, Urs and Emily to be thrown out as well.”

The raids happened more than four years ago on October 15th 2007, after more than a year of surveillance. 17 people were arrested. On that day they were threatened with Terrorism charges, nearly a month later later they were charged with Arms Act offences, and then in October 2008 five people had the charge of Participation added.

“The jury could not be convinced that there was any organised criminal group, and that should have been the end of it.”

On March 20th this year, on the third day of deliberations, the jury told the Court that they were hung. They were unable to reach a verdict on the main charge of Participation. The four defendants were convicted however, on approximately half of the Arms Act charges.

“Those convictions are based on illegally gathered evidence,” said Ms Cocker.

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