12/18/10

JUDGE OR BE JUDGED

10 December 2010 

Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann (pictured) ordered yesterday that the "Urewera State Raids" prosecution (R v Bailey) against 15 accused will be by judge alone trial.  The landmark ruling  was 


sought on application by the Crown and had been opposed by the accused. 
 
The remaining three of the eighteen listed defendants were ordered separate trials. 
 
Winkelmann J ordered the public not be told about her order.  In the past Winkelmann has stated the reason for such secrecy was to ensure the jury pool is not prejudiced by pre-trial information.  Her latest order prohibiting a jury states the potential length of the trial, or that jurors would use "improper reasoning processes" , each provide a sufficient ground for denial of jury trial in her mind.



In responding to the defendants' assertion the Bill of Rights Act 1990 ensures the right to elect trial by jury when facing more than 3 months prison, Her Honour stated the Supreme Court declared last year in Wenzel v R that barring a jury trial did not violate the Bill of Rights Act.  The Supreme Court reasoning in Wenzel v R was that judges are as fair as juries, even though the Bill of Rights guarantee to jury trial is not founded on contrary reasoning.
 
The R v Bailey accused were originally charged under the Terrorist Suppression Act.  After widespread public protests, Solicitor General David Collins dropped the terrorism charges in October 2007.  Most are now charged with arms violations: some with organised crime activity.

Justice Winkelmann was the Judge who earlier concurred with Police that their Court affidavit used to obtain the nationwide search warrants in the massive arrests be suppressed, then revoked bail on Crown application after Auckland District Court Judge Josephine Bouchier granted bail for some of the accused in 2007.  In 2009, Justice Winkelmann struck out several of those search warrants as unlawful.  Last month, the Court of Appeal reinstated them after the Crown appealed.

Winkelmann's ruling yesterday means the eighteen originally charged wrongly by the Crown as terrorists will now have their guilt or innocence determined by a Crown judge, as the Crown is being forced to justify its actions in the raids to the Unitited Nations.

The arrests were the culmination of a 13 month and multi-million dollar covert police investigation in 2007 which made news headlines around the world.

5 comments:

Kakariki said...

unfuckingbelievable

what does this say about the judicial respect for jury trials when a judge doesn't have faith in the reasoning processes of the public? Or really, is she just saying she doesn't think they'll find enough people who can swallow the lies of the state..

Ana said...

aye I reckon this bullshit reeks alright sis. I have every faith in the ability of juries to see through state/police lies. Looks like we got a
busy year next year e hoa.

Muzza said...

"improper reasoning processes". This is repugnant and reeks of elitism, arrogance and contempt for ordinary people and not only is her decision morally outrageous it is illegal. Only a special person of stratospheric self importance, tons of overconfidence and a tinge of good old fashion prejudice could come up with a decision like this.

Anonymous said...

They wouldn't be tried by a jury of their peers they would be tried by a jury of pakeha, the nz public wouldn't care if they're proved innocent a jury could still find them guilty of being maori.I have no faith in the justice system or the nz public . the nz public gave pihema cameron's murderer 4 years and constantly let police get away with violence and 'manslaughter'. The authorities rely on the "improper reasoning processes" of the public, without "improper reasoning processes" their order would collapse! I can't believe they are suddenly concerned a jury might develop common sense, they are just doing this because a jury trial might expose their lies. Probably a jury wouldn't make any difference the only difference this way the injustice stays behind closed doors with a jury trial the result would be the same but at least the injustice would be open.

I've been reading this blog for ages without commenting so I will. I like this blog! Keep up the good work!

Ana said...

This has been a bullshit prosecution from the beginning, denying the defendants a trial by jury is a lame a attempt to save face on the part of the crown. Juries have a good ability to see through police lies. This just illustrate that NZ is rapidly becoming a police state.