Monday, 12 Nov 2007

Top lawyer incensed TV3 leaked details

NZPA | Monday, 12 November 2007
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A lawyer representing Ruatoki residents following last month's police raids says charges faced by those arrested should be struck out after suppressed information was leaked.

Peter Williams QC said suppressed information leaked to TV3 and aired in part by the broadcaster jeopardised hearings faced by those facing firearms charges relating to alleged weapons training camps in the Ureweras.

Solicitor-General David Collins QC last week ruled against charges being pursued under the Terrorism Suppression Act against 12 of those arrested.

However, 16 people still face charges involving illegal possession of weapons.

TV3 gave some brief details on Friday night of what was in the leaked documents, but at the last minute ditched intentions to further discuss the material on Campbell Live after getting a warning from the Crown Law Office.

Mr Williams told Radio New Zealand today he wanted a police inquiry into who leaked the documents and said TV3 should be punished for broadcasting it while the issue was still before the court.

"What I would do if I were the lawyers acting for these people ... I would file in the court a motion to strike out on the grounds this inadmissible evidence has been published by TV3.

"I would put subpoenas on Mr (John) Campbell and his directors and I would place them in the witness box in the court and cross-examine them on exactly where there sources were."

Mr Williams said TV3 had violated basic rules of law regarding fair trials.

He said it may be reasonable to expect further information to be released once any court hearings or trials were over.

Moana Jackson, a member of the legal team representing those facing firearms charges, said the leaking of the information and inflammatory comments about "terrorist camps" and "napalm bombs" needed to be considered by the legal team of those charged.

Mr Jackson has stepped down from his position as patron of a police recruitment wing in response to alleged heavy-handedness by police carrying out raids in the Ruatoki area.

A TV3 lawyer said on Friday there was huge public interest in much of the suppressed information.

The broadcaster had decided against discussing the leaked documents on Campbell Live after being warned doing so would open them up to contempt charges.

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