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OPINION: Iti gang not outside the law

If he’s not already nuts, Leftie lawyer Russell Fairbrother is heading that way.

He apparently wants the Court of Appeal to allow one gun law for Tame Iti and his mates, the Ureweras and the streets of Ruatoki, and another for the rest of New Zealand.

He argues that carrying guns on the streets of Ruatoki is “different” to carrying them on Auckland’s Queen St and therefore the notorious “Urewera 4” did nothing wrong.

Mr Fairbrother reckons the Auckland jury which found Iti and his mates guilty of serious firearms offences should have been directed by the trial judge to what Mr Fairbrother calls the “difference” in the worlds in which the jury lived and in which Iti lived.

You can hear him, can’t you?

“Your Honours, carrying guns down Queen St is unlawful … but it’s not in the Kingdom of trigger-happy Tuhoe, where New Zealand laws do not, and must not, apply…”

This outrageous argument comes from an officer of the court and an ex-Labour MP who is clearly at odds with the rule of law and how it applies to all New Zealanders.

Trial judge Justice Rodney Hansen had a firm grip on the reality of what was going on at armed military-style “training camps” and clearly understood the requirements of the Arms Act.

He made this clear to the jury, who convicted the four.

Mr Fairbrother’s views have no legal footing.

They come across as a dangerous mish-mash of racially-separatist dogma.

Arguments of this kind have no place in an inclusive democratic society based on the rule of law which applies to all citizens.

Which is why they must be rejected by the Court of Appeal.

More by Jock Anderson

Comments and questions

Iti & Fairbrother I hold in similar contempt especially as I have a gut feel the taxpayer is paying for this nonsense.

Queen Street and Ruatoki are different worlds which makes rather a big hole in your case. You are unlikely to meet a wild boar or even a possum in Queen Street.

Since when has a chance encounter with a rogue possum or boar giving rise to the need to bear arms and military training?

Possum are pests, boar (and rabbits) are dinner in Ruatoki. (By the way, have you ever seen the size of some of those boars? You wouldn't want to be in an unarmed fight with one.)

Military training is of course another matter, but not an Arms Act issue.

I strongly disagree. I've seen a few bush-pigs in Queen St

So you don't believe in one law for all?

You mean for all places and circumstances? No. Neither does anyone else. There are plenty of laws and regulations that apply in Queen Street that do not apply in Ruatoki.

and there in a breath you convey the reason why this country is screwed. Cringing liberalism allowing the ifs buts and maybes to excuse anyone stepping outside the bounds of decency and honesty. What I wonder when sharia law gets mooted the same as marae justice for the peddlars of crime to find which option suits them or maybe a good old stoning is what you prefer.

Oh, what silly, brainless nonsense. There's nothing to do with cringing liberalism that says driving around Auckland with a gun on the back seat is a lot different from doing it out in the back blocks and bush tracks.

Have you ever lived in the country? Or even been there?

In the spirit of your comment I consider your stance fairly naive and ignoring your pointless questions the simple fact is that one law applies and to extend the analogy, why is it a young kid in the burbs pinging a slug gun suffers a police helicopter and an aos callout yet just because country folk need effective pest control we have to also tolerate them practising terrorism tactics including molotov cocktails? I'm a bit old school myself , not that its any of your business; I prefer now to only hunt for food.

Nobody is defending "terrorism tactics" or "molotov cocktails". However use and deployment of guns in the country and bush is entirely different from the city. It is absurd and naive to pretend otherwise.

The problem is Jock you might hava a good argument but the manner in which you write leaves the reader wondering whether you got your facts straight in the first place. That kind of leaves bothering with your rhetoric somewhat moot.

If youd shown more respect for an officer of the court one wouldnt be left wondering whether you had other things wrong too.

I'd like to know what was a switz national doing involved with Maori lands disputes and cultural events seems rather mind baffling to me, Urs Signer should be sent home ASAP considering his serious conviction of using illegal firearms without a licence should result in his deportation and not entitle him to tax payers to fund his cirus of events legal affairs. I'm sure Iti will be sent home in a number of months and I'm highly sure he will survive in jail such a man of his character and mana will pull through just fine, The whole case just went from one major event to this "show pony " of a school play. Time to end it all I say and move on next page.

How about the police tape recordings are realesed so we can find out what was really going on? I bet Iti and Fairbrother wouldn't want that to happen- why?

Welcome Alan.
Mr Iti was not pig hunting. Mr Iti and his comrades were not possum hunting. Possum shooting is best done at night.
They were "training" for security work.
That argument is bumpkin !
The Jury held that they were in possession of firearms not for a lawful purpose. They were training in the use of arms and other weapons for the purpose of insurrection. Endangering my freedom and the safety of my children and fellow citizens.

That is what the Court will decide and I make no judgment on it. I'm just pointing out the obvious fact that firearms have different purposes, familiarity and deployment in rural areas. No doubt the defense will argue an urban jury may therefore misinterpret some of the evidence. Most likely it made the same case in the original trial and it will fail again.

Dear Alan, the Court has decided.
A jury convicted Mr Iti. He is appealing.
People, who hunt do not normally practice tactical deployment in groups. Hunters seldom use Molotov cocktails, whereas terrorists, rioters, and sometimes those engaged in military engagements do.
As a country person, who has been to Ruatoki, I would be surprised to see people jump from a vehicle armed, I would be alarmed to see people carrying Molotov cocktails. There is no room for misinterpretation.
You are being an apologist.

I'm neither an apologist nor an amateur legal expert. I merely observe that what the Arms Act specifies as "lawful, proper, and sufficient purpose" most certainly differs in Ruatoki compared with Queen Street and to that extent this article is a logic fail.

You really think that a bedraggled bunch of deluded no-hopers, had the wherewithal to threaten your security?

actually, I think it should be the otehr way around, considering the crime rate in auckland, we should be able to use weapons walking on Queen street. I think I am in more danger from criminals there then from wild boars and rabbits in rural areas (LoL)

This is an example of the emerging maori acts of terrorism on the country.

Jock - the whole point of democracy is that Russell Fairbrother can express whatever views he likes. You (and I) don't have to agree with them and democracy allows us to say we don't. But God save us when the free expression of opinions is constrained.

And as to the legality of Mr Fairbrather's arguments: I'm not a lawyer (and I don't think you are either). So I'm happy to leave it to the Court of Appeal. And if I'm not happy with their judgement, again democracy enables me to seek a change in the laws on which the court rules.

I agree with Alan.

These guys were just playing around with guns and bombs like good ol southern boys. What is wrong with that ?

Pathetic Jock; pathetic. You pass yourself of as the Elder Statesman of Court reporting and you of all people should know that a lawyer's submissions on behalf of a client are just that: submissions on behalf of a client and not a personal view. Cheap, nasty unwarranted attack on Iti's lawyer. Shame on you.

You're right Cyril...Let's put all these impudent scribblers to the sword...

Iti destroyed a NZ flag using a shotgun ,and the fat boy got thinking he was special cos he got away with it,even though the fat boy had no firearms license. With a bit of luck the prik will die soon and I can sell the so called work of art I got tempted into buying for a small profit.

Carrying firearms is not illegal whether on Queen St or in Ruatoki, although like driving a car Mr. Iti and his pals should have obtained the licence. Using, and preparing for the use of firearms for self-defence and the defence of property is not illegal, although the police regularly claim otherwise even in response to courts throwing out charges:

Case: shop owner shoots man who is attacking him in his shop with a machete.

Police response: it is lawful to use a gun to defend the shop, but to have a gun for this lawful act is an unlawful purpose. (spot the flaw)

Police lay charges that said shop owner had firearm for unlawful purpose. Justices throw the charges out: i.e. they rule that there is no case to answer because having a firearm for this purpose is perfectly lawful.

police respond the next day:
"There will be people who take from [the] decision the message that it's okay to arm yourself against the possibility of attack," spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said yesterday.

"The dismissal of the charges should not be seen to carry the message that people in business, or anywhere, should have weapons at the ready for self-defence."

Police consider appealing but then decide not to:

"Under the Arms Act it was illegal in New Zealand for members of the general public to possess firearms for the purpose of self defence and police would always be concerned when such instances emerged," he said.

"Any change on this issue would have to come from a change in the law via the normal legislative channels."

The decision whether to prosecute or not had always been finely balanced but after due consideration the police had decided not to continue, he said.

Did you spot the part where the police are insisting the opposite of the law?

I wrote to the minister of police:
"This is blatantly incorrect, and in the case at hand the JPs effectively found that possession and presenting a firearm at a person (and even discharging a firearm at a person) for self defence was a 'lawful, proper and sufficient purpose' for the purposes of sections 45 and 52 of the Arms Act 1983 (the Act itself does not define what is a lawful, proper and sufficient purpose). The law and the facts in this case were so obvious it didn't need to go to court.

I think that the New Zealand police involved in this case know what the law is, and they wish it were different, and they're just pursing their agenda by pressing charges against law abiding people to make a political point that anyone who exercises natural and lawful rights of self defence will have to spend money to protect their names (best case) or suffer penalties if the police get lucky or some infractions can be found on the unfortunate target (worst case).

Will the police compensate Mr Greg Carvell for what they put him through?"

The response:
"I am advised the comments attributed to Detective Senior Sergeant Scott are correct in law. The law in New Zealand does not allow members of the public to possess firearms for the purpose of self-defence."

Clearly the New Zealand police have an unlawful policy of lies and for prosecuting people for lawfully possessing firearms for self defence.