OPINION: Iti gang not outside the law

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

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.

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