Tuhoe activists denied bail while appeals are heard

Tame Iti. Photo / NZ Herald
Tame Iti. Photo / NZ Herald

Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara have been declined bail while appeals against their convictions and sentences are heard.

Their bail applications were heard at The Court of Appeal in Wellington two weeks ago.

The two Tuhoe activists were jailed for two and a half years in May after being found guilty in the High Court in Auckland of firearms offences relating to the 2007 Urewera raids.

In his decision, released today, Justice John Wild said the pair's applications did not meet the high threshold set for granting bail pending appeal.

"Also relevant to our decision on these two applications is that the time to the hearing of the appeals on 22 August is quite short.

"On the Crown's calculation, by the date of hearing, the applicants will have been in custody for approximately three months.

"This is unexceptional in the context of a two and a half year sentence of imprisonment.''

Iti's lawyer Russell Fairbrother lodged an appeal against Iti's conviction and sentence days after sentencing.

At the time Mr Fairbrother told APNZ: "the judge took a wrong angle on sentence and I don't agree with his approach. We think he cast his net too wide in looking at the circumstances.''

At the Court of Appeal he said Iti's ultimate goal was not criminal and the sentence handed down to him was light in facts.

Gretel Fairbrother, representing Kemara, argued he was a first time offender and he was on bail prior to being jailed "with no incident.''

Crown prosecutor Ross Burns said plans were in place to commit paramilitary attacks against people and property.

Although the plans didn't take place, the fact remained they were there there.

Iti has been serving his sentence at Waikeria Prison and Kemara at Springhill Corrections Facility

Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were sentenced to nine months' home detention after they were found guilty of unlawful possession of firearms.

The 'Urewera four' were also accused of belonging to an organised criminal group but the jury in their trial was unable to reach a verdict on that charge.

- APNZ

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