NZ Police “terror” affidavit published online

The New Zealand police affidavit used to procure search warrants in the recent case of the Urewera 16 (nee 17) — or at least a document which purports to be that — has been published online in the name of the New Zealand Civil Liberties Union. It’s 155 pages long [one page is missing], and available as a PDF.

Weird shit.

    Update : Sometime in the last few hours, the site has been closed. “This site is currently unavailable. If you are the owner of this site, please contact us at 1-480-505-8855 at your earliest convenience.”

The site appears to be hosted by GoDaddy, a US-based company, which the report below claims is headquartered in Missouri (although it’s business address is given as being in Scottsdale, Arizona). Extracts from the affidavit were published by The Dominion Post as “The Terrorism Files” several weeks ago (November 14) and one month after police made their initial arrests. Those arrested have all since obtained bail following the decision by the NZ Solicitor-General not to proceed with charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act. Meanwhile, The Dominion Post and its publisher Fairfax continue to face the possibility of contempt of court charges being laid against them for having published the extracts.

Aside from anything else, the publication of the affidavit online raises a number of interesting legal questions regarding New Zealand and international law and the issuing of suppression orders. Thus media accounts such as the one below refer to the fact of publication but not its location, while some blogs record the name of the site, but do not link to it.

Secret police evidence posted on the net
NZPA
November 27, 2007

Secret evidence in a 156-page police affidavit used to carry out raids on Maori and other activists last month has been posted on a United States-based website.

The version of the affidavit on the website is taken from a photo-copy, which has hand-written legal notes in the margins and marked references to Jamie Lockett throughout the document.

Lockett is one of the 16 defendants facing firearms charges as a result of the raids on October 15.

Lockett’s lawyer, Jeremy Bioletti, this month filed a complaint to the Solicitor-General against The Dominion Post and other Fairfax Media publications for publishing contents of the affidavit filed at Manukau District Court on October 10 to obtain a search warrant for the raids.

Following the publication, Mr Bioletti said he expected The Dominion Post publisher, editor and the reporter involved, Phil Kitchin, would stand trial for contempt of court.

When contacted by NZPA today, Mr Bioletti was surprised to learn about the internet posting of the affidavit.

He declined to comment until seeing the website, which is under the name of a New Zealand organisation but appears to be hosted from Missouri.

Last week Solicitor-General David Collins wrote to Fairfax Media newspapers and the Stuff website, seeking their explanation for publishing information from the leaked affidavit.

Dominion Post editor Tim Pankhurst said today the Solicitor-General had given the newspaper until Friday to respond, and it was still preparing that response. He declined further comment.

Police launched an inquiry into how the information was leaked, initially to TV3, and whether any laws were broken. The inquiry was widened to include Fairfax outlets after they published excerpts from the affidavit.

The Dominion Post ran an editorial saying it believed it was acting within the law and in the public interest.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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5 Responses to NZ Police “terror” affidavit published online

  1. Ana says:

    This was leaked for sure by the right in NZ, probably the short-arse shit Trevor Loudon, what chance of a fair trial do the defendants have now?

  2. @ndy says:

    A subsequent media report claims that the site has been online for a week. The earliest reference I can find to it occurs on November 27. If those responsible for its publication are savvy enough, it’s sure to emerge elsewhere…

  3. Kyle says:

    earliest report i found of it was Nov 26.

    hopefully someone saved it and will put it up on another non-nz site.

    Ana – all that was leaked was the unedited truth, what’s wrong with that.

  4. @ndy says:

    What was leaked was the affidavit. The affidavit was assembled by police with the explicit purpose of obtaining search warrants from a magistrate. It consists of untested evidence, intended to establish not a court case but a reasonable basis upon which a magistrate might rule in favour of issuing search warrants — which is what happened — which might then be used to obtain further evidence of the commission of (serious) crimes. Specifically, “Participating in a Terrorist Group, Unlawful Possession of Firearms and Unlawful Possession of Restricted Weapons”. As it stands, police were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to warrant the Solicitor-General to approve the laying of charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act (‘Participating in a Terrorist Group’), and firearms charges have to this point only been brought against 16 of the 36 individuals specifically named in the affidavit. These charges have yet to be brought to court, and those charged are innocent until proven guilty under law.

    What’s wrong with that?

    Well, for a start, those charged have been subjected to a trial by media, such that large numbers of the NZ and international public have been led to the conclusion that the “truth” is that those subjected to the police raids are guilty of terrorism. Secondly, the manner in which the raids were conducted, which according to witnesses involved the excessive use of force and the violation of civil liberties — these allegations will presumably also be eventually tested in court. Thirdly, this was a major operation conducted over a period of several years involving the intensive use of surveillance and the routine violation of civil liberties — actions otherwise considered criminal — the end result of which, it could and has been argued, is a waste of time and police resources, and which serves a political purpose in terms of justifying a massively increased police state infrastructure, one built upon the basis of a fraudulent “war on terror”. Finally, the use to which Fairfax Media put the affidavit was questionable in the sense that it appears to have been ‘leaked’ to the corporation by police sources, and media reports using the affidavit, which painted those charged as being terrorists, occurred while a number of those charged were seeking bail, and during the conduct of a public campaign in opposition to their treatment at the hands of the state.

    That’s for a start.

  5. Peter says:

    Jamie is a good man and an even greater lover, peter x

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