Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Iti's Urewera appeal filed today

Tame Iti, Urs Signer, Emily Felicity Bailey and Te Rangikaiwhiria were on trial in the High Court in Auckland. Picture / NZ Herald
Tame Iti, Urs Signer, Emily Felicity Bailey and Te Rangikaiwhiria were on trial in the High Court in Auckland. Picture / NZ Herald

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence for possessing guns at Urewera camps.

In the High Court at Auckland on Thursday, Justice Rodney Hansen sentenced Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara to two and a half years in prison on firearms charges stemming from the October 2007 police raids.

Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were found to have played a lesser role in the camps and were sentenced to nine months' home detention.

Iti's defence lawyer, Russell Fairbrother confirmed an appeal against conviction and sentence had been lodged with the Court of Appeal today.

"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,'' he told APNZ.

"He's an experienced judge and a respected judge, so it's not going to be an easy appeal to win, but I think I'm right and so does my client, so off we go.''

The appeal against conviction was on more complex grounds, Mr Fairbrother said,

"We're arguing that the jury were wrongly directed, with great respect to his honour.''

It would likely be six to nine months before the appeal could be heard in court.

The conviction of the so-called Urewera Four has been criticised by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples as "a travesty of justice'' and sparked protests in Auckland and Wellington last week.

- APNZ

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