Bail revoked for man accused of declaring war on NZ (+photos)

An Auckland man arrested as part of nationwide police raids on suspected weapons training camps has tonight had his bail revoked.

In an unusual move, the Crown lodged an appeal at the High Court in Auckland after the district court this morning granted Jamie Beattie Lockett, 46, of Takanini, in Manukau City, bail.

The High Court judge has remanded him in custody to reappear in court on Friday, along with the five other Auckland accused.

Lockett did not react when the decision was read.

The District Court earlier heard Lockett declared war on New Zealand in communication intercepted by police. He faces three charges under the Firearms Act.

Lockett, who represented himself and had waived his right to interim name suppression, was one of six people who appeared in Auckland District Court after the police raids.

He was initially granted bail on conditions that included surrendering his passport, non-communication with some co-defendants, not applying for a firearms licence and not attempting to possess any firearms.

The charges Lockett faces relate to alleged offences in January, April and June.

At the hearing this morning, the Crown said police intercepted communications in which statements like the following had been uttered:

* "I'm training up to be a vicious, dangerous commando"

* "White men are going to die in this country"

* "I'm at war. I'm declaring war on this country very soon"

It described Lockett as someone who was an active participant in a group that had the potential to make a violent impact on New Zealand society.

But Judge Josephine Bouchier said that on the evidence before her at the moment, Lockett could not be considered to pose such a significant danger to the public that he should be in custody.

Meanwhile, social justice groups this evening held a rally in Christchurch in protest at Monday's raids.

Spokeswoman Frances Mountier - of the anti-mining group Save Happy Valley - said the rally was called for by various activists.

She said national action was planned for Saturday.

The Herald also revealed today that an encounter between two hunters and a group of armed men in military camouflage is part of the background to yesterday's police raids.

The frightened hunters reported their experience to police after they returned to the Auckland region from their Urewera Ranges trip three months ago.

In nationwide police raids yesterday, 17 people were arrested on firearms charges, with the possibility that more serious charges may be laid under anti-terrorism laws.

Among those charged was the veteran Tuhoe activist Tame Iti.

The hunters went into the Ureweras, inland from Taneatua near Whakatane, and encountered the group, which seemed to be training in commando-style manoeuvres.

The Herald has been told the group took a threatening attitude to the intruders.

The hunters decided retreat was their best option, and went back to Taneatua.

Days later, they related their scary bush experience to an acquaintance in a town to the south of Auckland and later to the police.

Officers were already investigating the activities of a group of extremists conducting military-style training in the Bay of Plenty wilderness when the two young hunters reported meeting the group of about 15, mostly Maori.

Police last night refused to discuss whether the group was planning to target anyone in particular.

But it is understood a specific threat was recently made against Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Asked whether her security had been stepped up, Helen Clark said she was not aware of that happening.

"I'm usually accompanied by diplomatic protection squad officers, and nothing has changed that I'm aware of," she said.

It is understood the people under investigation had been attending military-style training camps in the Ureweras for months.

Police are believed to have suspected that some of the instructors at the remote camps had Army or police backgrounds and were experienced in handling weapons.

Police investigations indicate some members of the Tuhoe tribe, who point out their ancestors never signed the Treaty of Waitangi, have been involved.

Seventeen people were arrested yesterday in Whakatane, Ruatoki, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Auckland in an operation involving 300 police officers and the closing of airspace in the Bay of Plenty.

Police inquiries including those by the anti-terrorist unit focused on a core group of about 20, but up to 40 could be involved.

Conversations were bugged, phones tapped, text messages intercepted and suspects secretly videoed.

Tame Iti and four Wellington "peace activists" were among those who appeared in court yesterday on firearms charges.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad said yesterday's moves had been made "in the interests of public safety".

He said weapons training camps in the Bay of Plenty were targeted.

"Based on the information and the activity known to have taken place, I decided it was prudent that action should be taken in the interests of public safety."

The Prime Minister was briefed last week and search warrants were obtained to search for evidence of offences against the Arms Act and possibly the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Firearms had been found, and police would assess all information from the searches before deciding on any charges under the terrorism law.

Sources have suggested the training camps were intended to prepare a terrorist group that planned assassinations for causes such as declaring the Tuhoe region in the Bay of Plenty an autonomous state.

Two other sources told the Herald they had attended military-style guerrilla training in the Ureweras.

One said the training involved wearing camouflage clothing, moving through the bush carrying heavy packs and use of firearms.

The other said the camp he attended was for Maori who felt they had been poorly treated by the Crown.

Maori Party and Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell said the police activity had placed a small rural community in his electorate "under siege".

He was alarmed to hear that children going to school had been upset by an armed-police roadblock in Ruatoki.

"The Maori families living in my electorate feel unduly harassed by the number of search warrants imposed, the charges laid and the intimidation they believe they have experienced," Mr Flavell said.

When the Terrorism Suppression Act came into law, Maori had said that it was only a matter of time before it was used against them.

Christchurch visit

Meanwhile, police today denied their visit to a group where members of an anti-mining group live was connected to protest groups in Canterbury.

Environmental lobbyist and anti-mining group Save Happy Valley Coalition spokeswoman Frances Mountier said yesterday police were turned away from her home when they failed to produce a search warrant.

"The police visited our house but they didn't have a search warrant so we sent them away again," Ms Mountier said yesterday.

But Detective Inspector Harry Quinn, crime services manager for the Wellington police district, said today police went to the Twigger St, Addington, property looking for a person "of interest" to the national police investigation into alleged weapons training camps in the Bay of Plenty.

Police had no intention of searching the property, he said.

Mr Quinn, who co-ordinated raids on properties in the lower North Island and South Island as part of the investigation, said police had "intelligence" which connected the person they were looking for with the Twigger St address.

Police knew the house was "frequented by many people", not all of whom were associated with the coalition.

"Police interest was not in the coalition activities, but in the person they were looking for," Mr Quinn said.

Police left after they were asked if they had a search warrant and then being "rudely" told to leave by a male occupant when they confirmed they had no warrant.

Mr Quinn said police didn't have a warrant "as there was never any intention to search the address".

Mr Quinn said police found the person they were looking for after making inquiries at three other Christchurch addresses where the occupants gave them a "warmer reception".

A search warrant was executed at another Christchurch property yesterday but Mr Quinn said it did not result in an arrest.

- with NZPA, NEWSTALK ZB

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