Monday, 05 Nov 2007

Police 'terror' raid tactics illegal - QC

NZPA | Monday, 5 November 2007
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Police tactics used in the recent anti-terrorism raids in Bay of Plenty were illegal, says high profile Auckland lawyer Peter Williams QC.

He was speaking after visiting the Ruatoki area, which was a focus of police action on October 15, as armed officers acted on information about alleged weapons training camps in the area.

Tuhoe accused police of misconduct during the raids and engaged Mr Williams to look at taking a class action against the Government.

Mr Williams said today that police did not have the right to take the occupants of a house into custody unless they had been charged with offences, but that this is what he believed happened at Ruatoki.

"People were taken into custody at gunpoint."

Many residents, including young children, were detained for many hours, he said.

Locals have said the armed police raids and routine searches were terrifying for the innocent adults and children exposed to them.

Discrimination complaints have already been laid with the Human Rights Commission over the Ruatoki raids and residents also plan to take cases to the Police Complaints Authority.

Four people were arrested in Ruatoki, while 13 were arrested in raids in other parts of the country. The search warrants were carried out under the Firearms Act and the Terrorism Suppression Act.

The Solicitor-General is now considering laying charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act against 12 of those arrested.


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