I’ve been compulsorily off-line for a few days, while Telecom took forever to re-connect the Internet – not sure the service in the Hutt Valley is quite what you’d expect in the classless utopia that is Aotearoa – but perhaps I’m just a grumpy bogan.
I did want to briefly write about the depositions hearing results last Friday for those arrested in the October 15th police raids last year.
Before we even get to this, there is one person arrested in the police raids who is not facing Arms Act charges, and so has dropped out of this process. That person, it seems, could only be charged with cannabis offences.
At the depositions hearing, where no evidence is presented by the defence, the Judge decided 17 of the 18 arrested will stand trial on Arms Act charges because the prosecution case was strong enough. Ten people have, however, had the number of charges against them reduced.
Rongomai Bailey has had all charges against him dropped due to insufficient evidence – quite remarkable both because this is rare in depositions hearings in Aotearoa, and because he was one of the defendants the Police were originally seeking to have charged as a terrorist.
Or perhaps not – in fact, John Minto noted the lack of evidence for trying Rongomai Bailey nearly a year ago in the Christchurch Press:
It transpired the police had no admissible evidence to justify laying the arms charges. In fact, they had no direct evidence whatever that he had ever even touched a firearm of any sort. What they did have was evidence gained under surveillance which cannot be used as evidence on the arms charges.
The case continues, with the trial date yet to be set but likely to be at least a year away.