6 Sep 2011

Crown wants suppression orders removed on raids ruling

9:40 pm on 6 September 2011

The Crown says it wants suppression orders removed on a court ruling that has prompted it to drop charges against most people facing trial in relation to the 2007 police raids in the Ureweras and elsewhere.

Seventeen people were facing trial relating to alleged training camps before the Crown announced on Tuesday that just four will now stand trial.

Fourteen of the group were to face trial in February next year, and three others were to be tried separately at an undetermined date.

But the Crown says a Supreme Court ruling last week has left it without sufficient evidence to charge most members of the group with firearms offences.

Crown prosecutor Ross Burns says that judgement is suppressed, but acknowledges it does raise questions about the way evidence was collected.

"Well, yes it does - and those questions will undoubtedly be able to be answered properly once the reasons for the decision are unsuppressed. But at the moment because they're suppressed, I really can't discuss them."

Mr Burns says the Crown will apply this week to lift the suppression so there can be informed debate about the case.

Firearms counts still stand against four people, including activist Tame Iti, who are also charged with being part of a criminal group.

The Crown says it still expects those four to face trial in February next year.