Court hears bail applications for Tuhoe activists

By Brendan Manning

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

The Court of Appeal in Wellington has today heard bail applications for Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara.

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

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

The 'Urewera four' were also accused of belonging to an organised criminal group, however the jury was unable to reach a verdict on this more serious charge at their trial.

Iti's defence lawyer, Russell Fairbrother, lodged an appeal against Iti's conviction and sentence days after sentencing by Justice Rodney Hansen at the High Court in Auckland.

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.''

In Wellington today he said that 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 and Kemara did not appear at the Court of Appeal today and are serving their sentences at Mt Eden prison in Auckland.

The court reserved their decision which is expected to be released later this week.

- APNZ

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