Tuesday, 04 Dec 2007
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Attempt to ban 'terrorist' tag

Urewera accused asked judge for controlling order
By KIM RUSCOE - The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 04 December 2007
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An attempt to have the media banned from using the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" in relation to the Urewera accused has failed.

The 16 men and women arrived at Auckland District Court yesterday amid a flurry of protesters waving the Maori flag and taiaha and booing at police and bystanders.

All face numerous firearms charges only, after Solicitor-General David Collins decided last month against authorising prosecutions under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Inside the court, lawyer Charl Hirschfeld said his client, 38-year-old Auckland IT manager Whiri Kemara, said media coverage would have instilled "fear and hatred" in potential jurors, making it impossible to get a fair trial.

When told he could not yet apply for a stay of proceedings - which would in effect throw out the charges against Kemara - Mr Hirschfeld asked that the media be banned from using the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" in reports about him.

A similar order was made on the phrase "pack rape" during the trial of former police officers Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.

But Judge Christopher Field said that would be an unfair restriction on the media and impossible to police.

He also refused to impose a court order banning publication of Kemara's photograph.

Despite a similar application for suppression having already been turned down by the High Court and the Court of Appeal, Mr Hirschfeld was given till 5pm on Thursday to lodge another appeal.

Appeals were also being lodged for Wellington siblings Emily and Ira Bailey and Ira's Auckland-based identical twin, Rongomai Bailey, after Judge Field lifted a ban on publishing their photographs.

Three others had name suppression lifted, but were also given time to appeal.

Several of the lawyers complained about a lack of legal aid for their clients, saying the hours needed to wade through the expected 20,000 pages of evidence had reduced their fee to "the equivalent of a tradesman's".

Others complained about the length of time it was taking police to disclose evidence against the accused.

Annette Sykes said she required extra time to have the disclosed evidence translated from Maori into English.

Her client, who has name suppression, spoke Maori as his first language and had requested all written evidence be given in Maori.

Ms Sykes spoke a different dialect from her Tuhoe client and had to have it translated for her own use.

Judge Field ordered that if police were not able to disclose all evidence by February 18, they should advise Ms Sykes so the next court appearance could be delayed.

All 16 accused were remanded on bail to reappear in Auckland District Court on March 5.


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