There needs to be an independent inquiry into the way Police handled the cases against a number of Tuhoe and political activists, Green Party Police spokesperson Keith Locke said today.
Yesterday the Crown Solicitor Simon Moore announced the dropping of arms charges against 14 defendants arrested in raids near Ruatoki and around the country on October 15 2007. Charges remain against four other defendants.
"The huge Police overreaction in these cases caused great offence to the Tuhoe people, and years of anxiety and hardship for all those arrested," said Mr Locke.
"A full independent inquiry needs to be instigated, so that there is proper accountability and the Police don't repeat the errors they made.
"Millions of dollars has been wasted on the Police effort and in the Courts, on the spurious grounds that there was some terrorist plot afoot."
Mr Locke suggested some of the matters an inquiry could address are;
- How the Police made the mistake of resorting to anti-terror legislation to justify their actions.
- Why the Police didn't engage in normal policing and question the activists they suspected, rather than initiating what may be the biggest surveillance operation in Police history.
- Why the Police engaged in practices that intimidated the whole Ruatoki community and badly affected relations between Tuhoe and the Police.
- Why the Police did not drop charges against many of the defendants at an earlier stage."
Mr Locke suggested that to facilitate such an inquiry the Police should consider withdrawing charges against the remaining four defendants. The same reasoning the Crown Solicitor advanced yesterday to drop the charges against 13 defendants, that it would be unfair to try them after such a long delay, could also be applied to the remaining four defendants.