No apology over Urewera raids

Armed police check vehicles at a roadblock in the Ruatoki Valley during the 2007 Operation eight raids. Photo / Alan Gibson
Armed police check vehicles at a roadblock in the Ruatoki Valley during the 2007 Operation eight raids. Photo / Alan Gibson

The police are standing by their decision to prosecute the 'Urewera 18' and won't be making any apologies.

The Crown yesterday revealed 13 of the 17 defendants in Operation Eight would be discharged.

The early-morning raids in October 2007 involved more than 300 officers in property searches in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch using warrants alleging crimes under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Police commissioner Peter Marshall acknowledged Operation Eight had "a number of unintended consequences on the relationship between Tuhoe and police".

"The community impact issues should not be confused with the validity of the prosecution process. The wider issues will take time to heal. On the other hand, the prosecutions relating to Operation Eight were undertaken in good faith and I have full confidence in the officers who undertook the investigation and of Crown Counsel who have led the prosecutions."

Mr Marshall said up until September 1, the prosecution's case had "withstood the full scrutiny" of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

"On September 2 the Supreme Court made a judgement concerning the admissibility of
evidence which over-rode the decisions of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. This necessitated the withdrawal of charges against many of the accused. It leaves serious charges remaining against four individuals.

"Naturally, police accepts the decision of the Supreme Court and concurs with the Crown's decision to take immediate steps to withdraw many of the remaining charges.

"The cases have been well stewarded from the outset and police will make no apologies in that regard."

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