10 May 2011

Police raids trial set to be delayed again

5:31 pm on 10 May 2011

The trial for those charged in relation to nationwide police raids in 2007 is set to be delayed again.

Fifteen of the 18 people arrested were due to go on trial at the High Court from 30 May this year. They face a variety of firearms charges as a result of the raids.

Crown prosecutor Ross Burns says proceedings are very unlikely to start on that date as the Supreme Court has not made a decision on two appeals.

The defendants have appealed against the admissibility of certain evidence and against the decision to have the case heard by a judge alone instead of by a jury.

Mr Burns says there is probably a long way to go before the delay reaches the point that the defendants' right to a speedy trial under the Bill of Rights Act is breached.

He says he will be surprised if the trial goes ahead this year but that delays of this length are not unusual in large complex trials.

Defence lawyer Kahungunu Barron-Afeaki says it is crucial that the trial is not delayed into next year. He says his client has already been waiting several years and the high level of stress is not fair.

The longer the delay, the stronger their case will be to have the charges thrown out, he says.