12 Sep 2011

Police raid charges formally dropped

1:17 pm on 12 September 2011

Protesters gathered at an Auckland court on Monday where charges against 13 of the people arrested in the 2007 police raids, accused of being involved in military style camps in Te Urewera, have been formally dropped.

Those charged were excused from appearing at the High Court in Auckland on Monday, where the Crown dropped Arms Act charges.

One of the accused, Tuhoe Lambert, died this year. His lawyer Kahungunu Barron-Afeaki says if the remaining four accused walk free there should be an inquiry into how the debacle happened in the first place.

The Crown expects the four who still stand accused of firearms offences and being part of an organised criminal group, including activist Tame Iti, to go to trial in February 2012.

One of the former accused, Moana Winitana, says the four are now carrying the burden for the rest of the group. Mr Winitana says some of the group have suffered financially, and would like to recover costs from the Crown.

About 30 protesters gathered at the court calling for the charges against the remaining accused to be dropped.